Misery Loves Company, Happiness is Contagious

***I want to start by saying I do recognize that there are many people with mental health issues that cannot just simply change their thought process. Maybe this will be helpful and maybe not, but I am in no way minimizing your personal struggle. I’m simply sharing my journey for going through storms in my life.***

Yawn!!!!!! Did you just picture someone yawning? Do you feel like doing it now? Seriously, I am yawning now, as I am typing. If yawning is that contagious, just think about all the other energy we put out. It’s contagious too. And some people emit the energy much more than others.

When I used to work at the shelter, I always said, one person can change the entire atmosphere of the shelter. I had clients who were nice as can be, however, when I would walk out of my office and see that person, all the energy I had was sucked out of me. It’s wild how one interaction can do that. As an empath, I am able to really feel the emotions of others. Sometimes it is a gift. But I have also learned that my energy can be pretty strong too. If I’m down, the people around me will know it. If I surround myself with happiness, that will be very apparent also.

Have you ever noticed that when you sit around with friends and one starts talking negatively, most will follow suit. There may be jokes and laughing, but that underlying negativity is still there. Facebook is a great example. Someone posts something and someone argues. All the sudden, the conversation is about the negativity, not the post. People get sucked into drama. I don’t know a single person who truly enjoys having drama in their life. Yet, we surround ourselves with drama (tv shows, gossip, politics…).

I have learned that for me, it’s easy to be negative. That’s the easy way for me. And, if I am miserable, I typically find someone who will join me in my negativity. I mean seriously, if you aren’t happy, do you really want Happy Harriet coming up to you and saying, “Look on the bright side,” or “just think of the good that can come out of this.” Honestly, I would want to punch her in the face. But here’s the thing. If Happy Harriet can get past my negativity and keep being positive, that happiness will most likely start to rub off on me, and me negativity will soon turn into happiness. And, while it’s not as easy for me to let happiness take over, it feels better. So, I have tried to make a conscious effort to let happiness drive me.

In the last couple of years I have focused on keeping a smile on my face and trying to find humor in things that would normally bring me down. It has made such a huge difference in my life. I used to think I was a Negative Nancy…well, I was a Negative Nancy. But I also thought I was surrounded by negativity. It turns out I may have been bringing out the negative in the people around me.

As I started having a more positive outlook, my conversations became less and less negative. I began to laugh so much more. I forgot how good it was to lauch and let my dirty sense of humor out. I could feel weight just falling off my shoulders. And suddenly, the people around me were smiling and laughing too.

I used to say “fake it ’til you make it.” My kids hated that saying. I didn’t really believe it either, until I felt it. You can fake happiness until you find it. Happiness is so contagious, that it can put a real smile on your face. Now, I walk into a room with a smile on my face. Because, if I have a choice to bring people down or help them stand tall, I will always choose to help them stand tall.

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