If Positivity Is Contagious, Bring It On! 

You often hear the word contagious. Usually, there is a negative connotation associated with it. For example, during this worldwide pandemic, we wear masks because of the contagion of COVID. As a child, I recall people using that utterance regularly regarding diseases such as chickenpox, measles, and the mumps. Yet, the word itself does not have to mean spreading a disease. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, their fourth definition includes “similar exciting emotions or conduct in others.” They give examples such as “contagious enthusiasm” and “contagious laughter.” I, humbly, would like to add contagious positivity. Not only that, I want to invite people to “bring it on” with vim and vigor.

The Culture

Many are familiar with the 2013 Gallup Poll regarding the status of the American worker, which I describe in detail in my book, Stop Depriving The World of You. Without revisiting the entire matter, the bottom line is that Gallup hypothesized the doubling of the workforce if managers and supervisors applied a more positive approach with their subordinates. Is this a surprise? Not to those of us who are in the people business. Yet, hostile work environments ensue. For those who refuse to embrace this philosophy, excuses abound: “Ignore them,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” How about: “They are visionaries or good at their craft so…” Yes, excuses feed into the cultivation of negativity in the workplace.

Some are beginning to see the benefits of changing behavior. Not long ago, I read an article based on a small study. The premise stated that mindful management creates happy employees. Again, those who practice mindfulness techniques become more aware of their behavior. Thus, they reveal a change in their attitude, which positively affects their employees, an example of the contagion of positivity.

Words of Positivity

The adage, “honey works better than vinegar,” never goes out of fashion. The power of this message is wise but straightforward in its meaning. Ask anyone how a simple statement of positivity can be memorable. Whether it be a pleasant conversation, a compliment, or, as I frequently state, acknowledging those who may feel invisible, the impact may be potent. I am involved in these experiences regularly. At times, I am delighted by some complimentary shoutout from a virtual friend. The effect of words, even virtually, can create a powerful contagion. When you send out, you also receive.

By spreading positivity, not only can the recipient experience a rush of positivity, but the sender may also. With this reverberation, contagious positivity is on full display.

Speaking of words, how else might you begin to grow positivity? What about sharing a story? For children and adults alike, unforgettable narratives are often the vehicles to embed complimentary messages. Cloaking lessons within a riveting plot can promote a constructive outcome. Fairy Tales especially endure because ”happily ever after” holds such value. They encourage positivity even when there is a struggle along the way.

How about thoughtful expressions in the form of poetry? This ancient manifestation of the verse can lift spirits. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s glorious poem, “A Psalm of Life,” has that power. To me, the words are so significant, I memorized the lyrics and recited the poem at my mother’s eulogy. I am not alone in being mesmerized by its meaning. Sometime after publishing this poem, Longfellow was approached by someone who said the majestic stanzas prevented him from committing suicide. Talk about having a positive effect! Thankfully, this ageless piece is available for anyone who wishes to absorb the message, which is about the reality of life. No wonder it is one of the most translated poems in the world.

Begin With You

Various mechanisms can evoke positivity, including self-examination and a desire to make and bring positive change. For some, this exercise is more comfortable than for others. Still, if one gives it a try and persists, this fantastic feeling can begin to take root and become perennial.

There are so many ways to elicit the feeling of positivity. The beginning may seem small, but that is all it may take. By sending signals of positivity, you are contributing to its contagion. Again, bring it on!

Your Thoughts

I invite you to consider your thoughts about spreading positivity. Have you noticed its effect on you or others when one person puts a positive spin on something? Please share.


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. For over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary professional role has been as a Therapist, but now she includes Author and Writer. In 2011, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper and hasn’t stopped. Many of her blogs can also be found on Sixty and Me, Medium, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, Stop Depriving The World of You, traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Throughout her career, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book. As a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene’s first novel, Visible Forever, will be published in the spring of 2024 by WordCrafts Press.

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  1. Dear Darlene,

    It is no coincidence that Kimberly Davis commented on Positivity. I ‘champion Positivity, Empathy and Kindness. Kimberly, bless her, awarded me the ‘title’ ‘Beacon of Positivity’. I was stunned, honored and indeed humbled.

    On seeing your article, I just had to write a comment supporting (championing!) your words. Positivity is contagious. And yes, the word ‘contagious’ like ‘infectious’ can have differing connotations!

    I have fervently explored the theoretical and actual effects of Positivity in general, but also, in the medical sphere.

    Although clinicians cannot ‘put it in writing’ Positivity does have a positive effect on individuals. Everyone is unique, so one person may benefit and another experience no difference. Positivity only has one way and that is upward.

    A couple of years’ ago I was diagnosed with focal seizure (related to epilepsy, but no foaming at the mouth nor shakes). At the same time, the proactive clinicians at Winchester Hospital took a P.S.A (Prostate Specific Antigen)blood test which turned out to be positive. Following scans etc, I took medication for the focal seizure and all well. No side effect (except I can’t drive and for a Jeep lover that is traumatic!). The prostate cancer involved hormone injections (yes I can empathize with women who experience hot flushes) and then radiotherapy. All went well and all is well, No operation required. No side effects from being bombarded with an awesome machine which killed off the bad guys. No side effects.

    I have had many discussions with clinicians and all confirmed that ‘in theory’ having a positive mindset works. Even with cancer (I stress, everyone is unique, what works for one may not work for another). I am a positive person, always finding a positive element in anything. Half glass full. One witnesses negativity in a person and negativity attracts negativity. Positivity is contagious and can certainly spread the ‘word’. The more I engage on the topic the more I am convinced that Positivity is key to good health and when in the company of others, can brighten the day. I am 100% with you. Positivity works both ways. Spreading Positivity; projecting Positivity can enliven the individual receiving the positive vibes, but has a therapeutic effect, a positive effect in enhancing the Positivity of the giver; the projector of Positivity. Positivity can unleash kindness and with kindness, empathy. A meeting of minds, generating Positivity.

    Darlene, I apologize for ‘going on a bit’ but I am passionate about Positivity and your article literally ‘fired me up’. I applaud you stance, your mission to spread the contagion of Positivity. Thank you so much.
    Championing Positivity, Empathy and Kindness.

    • Simon,
      First of all, no apology is necessary! Secondly, and more significantly, I love, love, love (should I say more loves?) your passionate comment. Thank you for sharing so openly. Yes, here is to positivity. I do believe its effects are more powerful than in ways we even know. I am so pleased your positivity assisted you in challenging times. By the way, my husband and I used to own a Jeep and went four-wheeling with it for many years. We miss that vehicle!

      Thank you so much! Never hesitate for sharing your positivity and passion on my articles. They are most welcomed.

  2. YES! Darlene,

    I think you are putting voice to how so many BC360 members already behave with their effort to engage with each other’s posts – and sharing them by reacting and commenting on LikedIn.

    I distinguish between reacting, commenting, and engaging because the oxytocin from a comment on how the content made one think or feel vs a generic “great post” is magnitudes. Engagement makes me feel seen. Not that I don’t appreciate when what I write is spread by reactions, but a good question or a new angle or knowing that what I wrote resonated with somebody makes my day.

    I wonder how to make it more “safe” for people who are not directly linked to the author/BC360 to comment. Sometimes it can feel like the core group are all “best buddies since birth” when in reality they may have been connected for two days. This seems to happen every time members of a group start being more friendly than strictly professional, which just serves to reinforce how overdue you cry to action is, Darlene. Too many people are walking around fearing that their contribution is not welcome.

    • Thank you Charlotte for your cogent thoughts. Yes, I agree! It is all about engagement. In this virtual world, those of us who share a platform have an easier time connecting. I believe if people join as members, they too can comment on our articles. Otherwise, like you, I hope to spread the message by taking Dennis’ generosity and reposting on social media. As always, I appreciate your fabulous input.💖

    • Hi Charlotte – Darlene is right on target, anyone can register and comment here on our Site, and we (I) am always open to connecting across LinkedIn and Facebook with those who wish to follow us and take advantage of opportunities to engage. As you know, our circle is a constantly expanding one with an open door for those that wish to join our “safe” communities… Always open to suggestions, of course!

  3. Darlene, I love this article. In a world that has become so divisive and negativity is rife, this is such a refreshing reminder of the power of positivity to change results.

    I experienced that today on LinkedIn. Yesterday (or Saturday night?)I clicked on a link published by one of my connections (someone I’d never connected with personally), which took me to her YouTube presentation. She was amazing! Warm and spoke from her heart about attracting the right people to you. Came back to LinkedIn and gave her Kudos. (One of those done by LinkedIn.) This morning I was amazed to see the results. First she sent me a personal message of thanks, then she shared the Kudos and now so many people have seen and commented on the post! Warms my heart to see the ripple effect of that one little positive act. I will be sharing your article with my community.

    • Thank you so much Yvonne for sharing that wonderful story. Yes, sometimes we do not even recognize the ripple effect. I appreciate your thoughts, and cheers to you for making a difference.

    • Thank you so much Kimberly! I appreciate you enthusiastic response. Yes, here is a toast to positivity which your articles also promote. Let us continue spreading the message.