And there is reason to believe that these symptoms weren’t caused just by the seizure itself – they were actually transferred from person to person. Studies show that if your spouse, family member, or roommate develops depression, you are at an increased risk for it. And contagion isn’t limited to face-to-face interactions – emotions can also spread through social media posts and text messages.
Emotional contagion may in part explain the so-called zoom fatigue, a phenomenon that has mainly been attributed to sitting still, staring at oversized virtual heads, feeling embarrassed to see your own reflection, and juggling the load. cognitive glitch facial expression reading. The science of contagion suggests that the negative emotions we experience as a result of overusing video calls could be in part caused by hours of communication with people who are also sad, stressed, lonely, or tired. (How to survive a Zoombie apocalypse: Avoid eye contact at all costs.)
When it became clear that people would be encouraged to stay at home and avoid large crowds, a joke circulated in which introverts declared, “I have prepared for this moment all my life. But the data tells a different story: During the pandemic, it was typically introverts, not extroverts, who reported more depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness. Extroverts may seek more connection, but introverts need it too – they are also energized by social interaction. Isolated, many introverts may have been surprised to feel hopeless. They also missed the collective effervescence.
This spring I wrote an article about the languid – the stagnation and boredom between the valley of depression and the peak of fulfillment. I have never seen people so excited to discuss their lack of enthusiasm. A poignant response came from a woman who owns a bakery in Chicago, who shared with me that she missed the hours she spent absorbed baking bread. Maybe it wasn’t just about finding flow in an individual task. Has the collective effervescence of pastry making with and for others also missed him?
When Émile Durkheim first wrote about collective effervescence in 1912, it was on the eve of World War I and six years before the Spanish flu began its lethal spread. But the Roaring Twenties brought him back in force. People sang and danced together, watched and played sports together. They not only found the collective effervescence in the superficial pleasure of frivolous activities; they also forged it in the deep pleasure of creating together and solving problems together. This decade brought an explosion of folk art like jazz and talkie movies, hobbies like water skiing, and medical advancements like insulin.
As some countries begin to reopen, the collective effervescence will naturally occur – and it already is. There will be fewer Zoombies roaming the internet in their pajama bottoms, casually reaching out through their computer screens. Some of us have already started to feel the thrill of creative collisions at work and the rush of a real vacation. But leaving the house does not guarantee that we will pursue happiness in the best way.
Psychologists find that in cultures where people seek happiness individually, they can actually become more lonely. But in cultures where they seek happiness socially – by connecting, caring, and contributing – people seem to be more likely to achieve well-being.