Emotional Thinking and Bad Habits Are Contagious and Can Spread Like Flu
You can pick up other people’s bad habits by just being around them.
Weird, but true. No, you won’t find this in most books.
This is because the beliefs you hold are shared, whether you like it or not.
I first ran into this from one of these “accidental millionaire” Internet Marketers. He had built his income from a business built on short-cuts that took advantage of people’s fears to “make money.” He said thoughts are contagious. And I didn’t believe him. But when I got into some classic self-help books, I found that same datum resurfacing.
Napoleon Hill covered this in his Think and Grow Rich 1945 sequel, “The Master Keys to Success.” There he produced a concept he called “Cosmic Habitforce.” This idea simply is that both good and bad habits are available for anyone to pick up from the people around them.
To fully grasp this, you need to review Chapter 13, “The Brain”, from his Think and Grow Rich. There he explores a concept that the brain is more a transmitting and receiving station for all thought.
Other studies, such as those by independent researcher Jose Silva in the ‘70’s found that when the brain is producing delta wavelengths (just above sleep) that telepathic and other pre-cognitive abilities can be demonstrated.
Hill emphasizes the need to carefully select those who you associate and work with, as any critical habit of theirs will “rub off on you.”
Just as similarly, a person who practices a positive mental attitude can lift the spirits in an office or workplace. As well, a gloomy and depressed person will make all those around him feel worse to some degree. Claude M. Bristol warns about this several times in his book.
Habits are just routinely continued actions over time. Mental habits are formed by using the same emotional responses to any given situation, over and over. These develop a patterned response to any given situation. Emotions are programmed this way. Your programming is developed by watching your parents, teachers, friends, and family. You keep seeing them use the same reaction over and over. You then adopt their emotional responses as your own.
Worst yet, if you have just encountered a high-stress situation, it may only take a single response that is adopted as the pattern. Particularly where you’re belief-system has failed to prepare you for that situation.
In there somewhere is the explanation for PTSD, both military and civilian.
Emotions and feelings are different, but they are often confused. Both are under the control of the person. The word emotion itself means “motion out.” This is a response to outside action. Emotions are generated. Most people have conditioned responses that they use to generate the “appropriate” emotional response to any given situation.
Feelings are more perceptions. They are internal and usually not voiced or communicated. You may feel sad, but your emotional response may be “grief.” You can feel happy, but an emotional response would be laughing, smiling, or exhilaration.
Where something is a state, it’s usually a feeling. Where you are in action, this is usually an emotion – again, literally “motion out.”
A lot of our feelings are classified using terms that are actually emotions.
But this doesn’t mean you are an automaton. It only says that you may have swallowed some programmed responses and adopted them as habits to get through life. Your emotions are forms of communication with others.
Psychologist William James gave us a trick to sort these out, and to take more control over our own lives, emotions, and feelings:
“We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief.”
In short, act happy and you’ll start feeling happy. Start smiling and you’ll find some reason to smile.
Releasing is another way to achieve a calm, cheerful state of being.
You don’t have to get habitually angry when something upsets you.
But do watch for the patterns others give you in their own responses. Like a sneeze spreads germs, a tirade can spread an angry habit across the whole office.
If you want to inoculate an office, set a good example of facing problems with a cheerful expression and honesty.
W. Clement Stone was known to react to anything that happened with, “That’s Good!” and then go about finding what was good about that situation, whether it was positive or negative at the outset. Shortly, he would indeed find what was good in that scene.
He was a great believer in keeping a positive mental attitude at all times, even writing several books in this area on his own and with Napoleon Hill as a co-author. Stone lived to be 100. Every morning he would look at himself in a mirror and state, “I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific!” and start the day with a smile and cheerfulness.
You can try this yourself, right now. See if you can’t change the way you’ve been feeling.