Emotional Contagion and the Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur

The Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur uses their gift of empathy to detect subtle nuances of emotional contagion which allows them to tap into the feelings and emotions of others at a deeper level than the average person. Emotional contagion is discussed in the following excerpts from the national bestselling author Daniel Goleman from his book, “Emotional Intelligence”:

“Emotions are contagious. Most emotional contagion is far more subtle, part of a tacit exchange that happens in every encounter. We transmit and catch moods from each other in what amounts to a subterranean economy of the psyche in which some encounters are toxic, some nourishing. This emotional exchange is typically subtle, almost imperceptible level; the way a salesperson says thank you can leave us feeling ignored, resented, or genuinely welcomed and appreciated. We catch feelings from one another as though they were some kind of social virus..” (pg 114)

“How does this magical transmission occur? The most likely answer is that we unconsciously imitate the emotions we see displayed by someone else, through an out-of-awareness motor mimicry of their facial expression, gestures, tone of voice and other non-verbal markers of emotion. Through this imitation, people re-create in themselves the mood of the other person – a low-key version of the Stanislavsky method, in which actors recall gestures, movements, and other expressions of an emotion they have felt strongly in the past in order to evoke those feelings once again.” (pg 115)

“When two people interact, the direction of the mood transfer is from the one who is more forceful in expressing feelings to the one who is more passive. But some people are particularly susceptible to emotional contagion; their innate sensitivity makes their autonomic nervous system (a marker of emotional activity) more easily triggered. This ability seems to make them more impressionable; sentimental commercials can move them to tears, while a quick chat with someone feeling cheerful can buoy them (it also may make them more empathic, since they are more readily moved by someone else’s feelings.” (pg 115,116)