FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND SOCIAL ATTUNEMENT

A quick explanation of the different ways family and friendships can impact the nervous system.

CO-CEO, NEUROFIT
1 MINUTE READ
OCT 4, 2023
THE VARYING EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CONNECTIONS
The positive effects of the people closest to us on the nervous system are numerous. They can help us to feel loved, supported, and secure, provide us with a sense of belonging and purpose, and also help us to learn and grow.
When we feel nourished and supported by friends and family, we feel more confident and capable - and this is reflected in the overall balance of the nervous system. This is due to the emotional contagion effect - the nervous system's automatic process of absorbing the emotions and belief systems of those we spend the most time with.
EMOTIONAL CONTAGION AS A SOURCE OF DYSREGULATION
However, emotional contagion works both ways - the negative effects of the people closest to us who we do not find nourishing can also be absorbed by the nervous system. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and even depression if we are attuning to people who we feel drained and fatigued around. Often times the feelings are not even our own, so much as picked up from those around us.
This phenomenon is commonly labeled in society as the "energy vampire" effect. Interestingly enough, there is a scientific basis for this - and it lies in the nervous system.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of the emotional states of those around us and to choose our relationships wisely. When we are surrounded by people who nourish us, our nervous system reflects this, and we are more likely to feel happy and healthy across all facets of life.
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