Power of Thoughts

The Ripple Effect of Thoughts: How Our Mental State Affects Others

You will often notice how your mental state can also impact those around you. But why? How is this possible? The Ripple Effect of your mental state can be felt by quickly observing those around you. Read more to understand why.

The Ripple Effect and power of what we think: The strongest weapon of humans 

Our thoughts are our most powerful weapon and it has the ability to influence how we feel and act. In recent years, there has been a thrust to study the power of thoughts and how it impacts those around us. How does the ripple effect of thoughts work? Let us find out. 

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  1. Emotions are contagious- We as people are wired to pick up on emotions of those around us. When we interact with others, our emotions can easily be transmitted to them and that can affect their emotional state as well. For example, if you are in a positive in a good mood, it is likely to rub off on those you interact. 
  2. Mirror Neurons- Mirror neurons in our brains fire when we observe others performing an action or experiencing an emotion. This neural mirroring can lead us to actually mirror or copy the emotions and behaviors of those around us. For example, if you are around someone who is feeling anxious or stressed, you might start feeling the same way without consciously realizing it.
  3. Positive and Negative Feedback Loops- Positive thoughts and emotions can create a positive feedback loop and social interactions. In the same way, negative emotions and thoughts can create a negative feedback loop. In social interaction, when we see someone expressing gratitude, kindness or happiness, others are encouraged to do the same. In the same way, when we are around someone in the group who is consistently negative or critical, it can drag down the entire group spirit which makes it difficult to maintain a positive outlook. 

A study by a group of scientists from Stanford has also shown that “people can also regulate the way they are influenced by others’ emotions.” The study was important in explaining how the emotions felt by people were influenced by those around them, their environment, and how they reacted to a certain situation. 

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Mental health states such as anxiety, depression, grief, and harmful thoughts can also have a ripple effect wherein it affects the people around us in the same classroom, families, and our communities. For example, it is often been recognized that a child’s mental health affects the mental wellness of others, especially the parents. It can also be seen that the mental state a parent is in is often reflected in how the child behaves and feels most of the time. 

So it is not uncommon to know that our behavior or our thoughts can help impact the mental state or emotions of others as well.

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Harshita Bajaj

Harshita has a background in Psychology and Criminology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Criminology. She can be found reading crime thrillers (or any other book for that matter) or binge-watching shows on Netflix when she is not in hibernation.
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