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What is Mimicry & How Does it Affect Us?


Mimicry is the tendency for emotions to spread between people. While this can happen through verbal communication (e.g., someone telling you that they're angry), it can also happen non-verbally (e.g., seeing someone else's angry facial expression).

You know how it feels when you walk into a room and the vibe is just off? Have you ever been in a good mood and then had someone ruin it by complaining? Or have been around someone who was so over-the-top happy that their good mood was contagious? If so, then you've experienced mimicry.

It is the phenomenon of catching and spreading emotions – good or bad – through facial expressions, body language, and vocalisations.


While mimicry might not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a significant impact on our lives. For one thing, mimicry can affect our relationships with others. If you're constantly surrounded by negative people, for example, their negativity is likely to rub off on you and make you feel more negative yourself. This can lead to arguments, conflict, and ultimately, damaged relationships.

Mimicry also matters for our overall well-being. If we're constantly exposed to negative emotions - whether that's through the people around us or the news and media, we consume - it can take a toll on our mental health. Negativity can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. On the other hand, positive emotions can have the opposite effect - leading to increased happiness and satisfaction with life.

We're most susceptible to mimicry when we're tired, stressed, or otherwise not feeling our best. This is because when we're already down, we're more likely to latch onto negative emotions. On the flip side, when we're feeling good, we tend to be more open to positive emotions.

Children are especially prone to mimicry because they are still developing their own emotional regulation skills. As a result, they often look to others for cues on how to react in any given situation. This can lead to a reinforcement of both positive and negative emotions.

While mimicry can have some benefits, such as helping children bond with each other and feel connected, it can also amplify negative emotions and lead to difficulties in coping. It is therefore important for adults to be aware of the importance of modelling appropriate emotional responses for children.

For example, if a child sees an adult get angry and lash out, the child may learn that it is okay to express anger through violence. On the other hand, if a child sees an adult cope with frustration in a constructive way, such as by talking about it or going for a walk, the child may learn to do the same.


Given the potentially harmful effects of mimicry, it's important to know how to avoid it. There are a few key things you can do:

Surround yourself with positive people: One of the best ways to avoid negative emotions is to surround yourself with positive people - individuals who will help support you and make you feel good about yourself. Find friends, family members, or even co-workers who always radiate positivity and make an effort to spend time with them on a regular basis.

Limit your exposure to negativity: Another way to avoid mimicry is to limit your exposure to negativity as much as possible. This means turning off the news when it's filled with bad news stories (or only tuning in for a few minutes at a time), avoiding social media arguments/toxic people/etc., and generally filling your life with positive activities and experiences instead of negative ones.

Take care of yourself: Finally, it's important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally if you want to avoid negative emotions. Make sure you're eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, etc., as these things will all help improve your mood and make you less susceptible to catching negative emotions from others.


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