英語趣談:對抗emotional contagion的自衛術

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病菌會傳染,情緒也會傳染。你發嘮叨,就會把心中的不快傳開去,這種現象叫”emotional contagion”。 Contagion是名詞,解the communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact,接觸傳染、感染、蔓延。 Contagion也解the spreading of a harmful idea or practice,一些不良的思想或做法蔓延開去。

人類互動基礎

Contagious是形容詞,解spread from one person or organism to another, typically by direct contact,接觸傳染的、接觸傳染性的;例如︰Chicken pox is a contagious disease.(水痘是經接觸傳染的疾病。)情緒怎樣人傳人?這是可以想像得到,無端端被人惡罵,當然會影響自己的心情,心情受影響,自己也可能會發脾氣。但實際的emotional contagion傳播方式不只是這樣。

University of Hawaii心理學教授Elaine Hartfield解釋,emotional contagion是”tendency to automatically mimic(模仿) and synchronize(使同步) facial expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements with those of another person and, consequently, to converge emotionally”。

原來與人接觸,我們會不自覺地互相mimic和synchronize大家的表情、語氣、姿態和動作,最後令情緒也趨於一致。 Elaine Hartfield是Emotional Contagion一書的作者之一,她說這種反應是人類互動的基礎,對生存有用處。

Primitive(原始的) emotional contagion is a basic building block of human interaction. It helps us coordinate and synchronize with others, empathize with them, and read their minds – all critical survival skills.

不過,不停受到emotional contagion的影響不是好事。每天與你接觸的人很多,他們的情緒你無法控制,若你不斷受別人情緒影響,豈不是無法掌控自己的心情?

Gary Slutkin醫生是非牟利機構Cure Violence的創辦人與行政總裁,他從公眾健康的角度看emotional contagion,關心的是”anger that erupts into violence”(憤怒爆發為暴力)。整個社會氣氛差,個人就難以獨善其身。不過,防衛不斷受別人惡劣情緒轟炸是有辦法的。

Anger management(憤怒管控)專家、犯罪學教授Raymond Chip Tafrate說︰”Emotional contagion is an autopilot(自動駕駛) phenomenon. We encourage people to get off of autopilot and learn some skills.”

嚴選交往人選

要選擇跟什麼人交往︰

Ask yourself, “With whom do I feel good? Who reinforces(鞏固、加強) my strengths and best qualities? With whom am I the best version of myself?”

另有專家說:”The ideal person is not someone who is ‘positive’ as much as someone who is level-headed(頭腦冷靜的) and willing to engage with you, including with your darker thoughts.”

Never take anything personally on social media. People have their issues(問題) and they have nothing to do with you. Do not encourage or even engage with bad behavior online, or anything that doesn’t feel right. Bad behavior breeds(滋生) bad behavior: If you send out calm, positive signals, you are less likely to attract negative people.

Judith Orloff的Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life,教你怎樣築構情緒防線。

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