(NaturalNews) Can bad moods go viral and negatively affect people across the globe? Yes, research reveals that yes, they can and do just that.
Imagine a negative social media update that - within hours or minutes - sucks millions of people into a vortex of angst that adversely affects their real interactions with friends, colleagues and family members. Is there a better way to depress a population quickly?
Check out the research:
A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Yale, and Facebook has found that moods can be spread as wildly as that funny cat video everyone's been watching.
Social researchers have known for years that emotions spread through face-to-face interaction, but this is the first large-scale study on how this phenomenon carries over into online interactions.
In gathering data for this study, researchers (some of whom were employed by Facebook at the time) examined billions of status updates posted between January 2009 and March 2012. They specifically examined how updates changed on rainy days. Then they looked at posts of people who were Facebook friends with those impacted by rain, but who lived in areas where the weather was not as bad. The study found that every emotionally negative post as a result of the rain generated an extra 1.29 more negative posts than usual.
This information is of particular interest to those whose professions are greatly influenced by global emotion, such as politicians and financiers. This study indicates that spikes of global emotion could generate political unrest, or widespread caution in investment markets. Of course, the mood virus phenomenon can be used manipulatively by those in power, as we can all imagine.
Does positive emotion go viral, too?
Interestingly, positive emotional posts had an even greater impact. Researchers found that happy posts generated an extra 1.75 positive emotional posts in the user's Facebook friends. Both results indicate that emotions can ripple through social networks online, eventually generating clusters of emotional synchronicity.
And that's how we work. Other people, whether in person or electronic simulation, greatly affect us. Of course, it's great to get sucked in to good news and happiness much of the time. But, do you allow yourself to get dragged down by other people's negativity?
If so, take control by:
1. Unfriending people who tend to complain, accuse and whine.
2. Post positively. Spread your good fortune to others. And when you have bad news that is important to share, do it with a motivational message inspiring people to act conscientiously to end the problem. This way, you're not just complaining and spreading victimization.
3. If you cannot help but be emotionally dragged down by others' moods, it may be time to look within yourself to discover the cause of the negativity. Hint: It's not the others. It's more likely your inclination toward feeling passively controlled, deprived or rejected. In other words, this is self-sabotage.
There may be nothing more important to your overall health than managing your stress and responses to what happens around you. When your moods are susceptible to negativity because of what others do - even when it is just a Facebook post - then you've probably got some inner work to do.
Learn more about our tendency to latch onto negativity and sabotage ourselves (and how to overcome it) by watching this free video.
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