Have you ever noticed when you are talking to someone with their arms crossed, suddenly you look down and your arms are crossed as well? How about when you hear someone cough and you suddenly start to feel a scratch in your throat? Or here is another good one: have you ever yawned from seeing someone else yawn? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This little phenomenon is called “mirroring,” and it happens all of the time.
So, why are we natural imitators? From a very young age we have been molded to avoid being the "black sheep." Standing out is different, odd, or just plain weird; therefore we imitate our surroundings. As humans, we are subconsciously always learning. Why don’t we stop imitating and start being the one who is being imitated? In other words, "Let’s Be Contagious!" Here are a few things we need to start spreading around.
One Body, One Chance
“Hey, if I order this ice cream, will you eat it with me?” See how that works? We don’t feel as bad if someone did it with us. Accountability is such a big part of being happier and healthier. We need the people close to us to work with us, to motivate us, and to have the same visions as us. Our bodies are our homes and we need to take care of them. It is not safe to live in a hazardous place, so it is time to be contagious with how we treat ourselves. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t have ice cream, but life is all about balance. Working on your health is a fun process and can be more fun with other people!
Lend a Hand
Imagine walking down the street and the person in front of you hands a homeless man a dollar. Naturally, you feel more obligated to give that man a dollar as well. No one was meant to go through this life alone. It's time to bring back a sense of community and working for one another. Not because we have to, but because we want to. People need to witness the act of service and be inspired. It's not a crazy concept -- if you do something nice for someone else they will want to do something nice back. Now, let’s imagine that on a worldwide scale.
Sticks and Stones
Words can dig deeper than the Grand Canyon. However, we don’t have to see this as a negative thing. We can all remember a time when someone said something to us that brightened our day. It could have been anything from "I like your shirt!" to "You are so incredibly smart." The smallest words can go such a long way. Our words need to be contagious.
We live in an imperfect world and that is frustrating at times, but happiness is not a gift, it is a perspective. It is a choice that when we put our feet on the ground and walk out of the door everyday, we either look at how amazing life can be or choose to focus on every time that we have been faulted.
Have you ever tried to stay mad when someone laughs with you and works to cheer you up? It's nearly impossible. Smiles can be the most contagious thing if we just give them the chance.
Negativity, insults, selfishness, and frowns all can have the same effect. It is our choice now to change that. Self-awareness is the first step towards making our world a happier place. If happiness is the disease and a word, selfless act, or just a simple smile is a virus, I hope we infect everyone around us.