Contagion – Part one: Contagion

By Anne Malatt and Paul Moses, Australia.

When someone walks into a room, we know how they are feeling.

We can feel it with our whole being, and we then confirm it with our five senses.

If they are angry, we feel it first. We then see it in their facial expression, in the way they hold themselves hard and the way they move and walk, we can hear it in the way they bang things down or stomp their feet, we can smell and taste it in the air we breathe and we can touch it if they come into contact with us, but most of all we just feel it.

And we can react or respond in different ways.

Most of us tend to tense up, contract, and go hard ourselves, in an effort to protect ourselves from what we can feel is coming at us. We may be on edge, ready to fight, or flee. It may bring up memories and feelings in us of when other people have been angry with us, and may even have hurt us, or those we love.

Whatever our reaction, it can be very challenging to stay open and loving with someone who is behaving in this way, no matter how much we may love them.

So, can this anger be contagious?

Can this force affect us physically, just as much as if it were a bacteria or a virus?

And can the way we react to it, the dis-ease it creates in us, in fact be the underlying cause of illness and disease?

Is it possible that if we harden or contract in the face of anger, our connective tissue, muscles and joints may stiffen up, leading to inflammation, fibromyalgia, or arthritis?

Could our blood vessel walls harden, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease?

And how about the ways we deal with anger? It is an uncomfortable emotion to feel, and we don’t like feeling uncomfortable. Most of us have developed ways of living that reduce or numb these emotions – like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or eating certain foods, particularly dairy, sugar or carbs. And could all the consequences of these behaviours stem from the fact that we did not want to feel uncomfortable in the face of anger or other emotions – be they our own or those of others?

It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?

What if the diseases that we label as ‘random’, ‘bad luck’, or even ‘genetic’, are in fact a result of the dis-ease we experience, every day, day after day?

What if our way of dealing (or not dealing!) with the ill-at-ease we feel every day – and can never stop feeling, no matter how hard we try to numb ourselves – is in fact the underlying cause of our illness and disease?

Could this ill-at-ease be the tension we feel, that we label as stress in our lives?

We are living in a sea of emotions, all day every day, at home, at work, in relationships, in life. Try as we may to numb ourselves, we can never stop feeling, and if we do start to feel that the behaviours we are using to numb ourselves are hurting us, and try to stop them, all the uncomfortable feelings that we have been trying not to feel are there waiting for us. No wonder we have trouble giving things up and letting things go!

So how can these emotions that we feel, that we consider a normal part of everyday life, be the underlying cause of illness and disease?


Read more:

1) Learning to observe and not absorb life

2) Emotions and feelings is there a difference? 

3) Energetic integrity and energetic responsibility


710 thoughts on “Contagion – Part one: Contagion

  1. Anne & Paul, thank you for reminding me of the emotions we are faced with on a day to day basis. These unfortunate emotions are with us every day and if we are not discerning, they affect us, whether we stuff our bodies to numb or harden it.

    ‘This force’ you speak about is palpable and contagious and I see many being affected especially where I work. And the casualities are left exhausted, disliking their jobs, reacting and firing like a fire cracker, the general mood is of, unease.

    Once I was the symptom of this unease, and I knew if I continued, I don’t know where my body would have ended up. At a point in my life, I had to make the choice to support me and my body, to not be a part of this vortex of emotions.

    It is without perfection that I choose to be with me more and more and less of being caught up with the calamities of life. It’s kind of like the Punch and Judy show, that will go on and on, till YOU make the decision to break this cycle.

    There is another way to live, and for many it doesn’t happen over night, it begins with making the decision that you don’t want to part of the same old cycle, it ultimately begins with you.

  2. I have read this article today as if I have never read it before and yet I know I have! I am looking out of a different body though and therefore what I am able to see, hear and understand has also changed. When we are more willing to be open to what we are feeling and therefore what we have chosen not to feel, the communication changes. What a freedom!

    1. Lucy it is spot on, as we and our bodies change, we see, feel, hear and understand things from a different perspective. That understanding is important, as we don’t take it personally and then we don’t hold it against the person. It is truly freeing…

  3. “Is it possible that if we harden or contract in the face of anger, our connective tissue, muscles and joints may stiffen up, leading to inflammation, fibromyalgia, or arthritis?” – I think it is very possible. We do physically feel our own reaction to situations – how we harden, or feel expanded and at ease etc., and if we are unable to let go of our reaction and stay stuck in the reaction as our pseudo-default posture, our body will have to make adjustment/compromise to accommodate that.

    1. Yes very true, tension in the body contracts the muscles, there is less flow and this must have a consequence because it is not the natural state for the body. It is only when pain gets involved that we stop to hear and pay attention to what our body may well have been trying to tell us for a while.

  4. It’s easy to just use a blanket term like stress and never get to understand what is actually happening to us and our bodies. This build up of ill-ease from the way we react or respond to life makes absolute sense and realising what’s going on we have the possibility to turn things around for ourselves…if we truly want to that is…and if we don’t isn’t it interesting to know why…and could this be the inspiration for our getting back on track.

  5. I so get what you are saying about anger. I know my kids used to tell me I was angry before I knew I was angry! They would clock my passive aggressive comments when I thought I was being patient – it just shows patience can be a really unpleasant experience to be on the receiving end of if it is not true.

  6. Some important questions to ask ourselves here, it makes sense that being emotionally reactive to life and the situations we face must over time have an significant impact in our body that allows the body to run in contra to the natural rhythm and flow it is designed to be in so leading to its eventual malaise unless we release what we have taken on that is not true for our body.

  7. We can feel it if we allow ourselves to be affected by the emotions in someone else. In the cinema and theatre this is exactly what the production is aimed at, to stir up emotions and try to get the audience empathising with the image portrayed in the film or play. But these emotions are not yours but you may have absorbed them from others and been affected by the contagion.

  8. This is a really interesting way to look at the interplay between how we deal with what’s happening in life and how it affects the body. “What if our way of dealing (or not dealing!) with the ill-at-ease we feel every day – and can never stop feeling, no matter how hard we try to numb ourselves – is in fact the underlying cause of our illness and disease?” This is such a great line as to me it is about empowerment, that we can with support ascertain how situations are affecting us, let go of our reactions, and live more harmoniously inside ourselves allowing our body to return to its natural homeostasis.

  9. How often do we feel the emotional out play of another but over rule what we have felt and find ourself affected by it later. Observation is the key to not absorbing other people’s situations

  10. We feel everything, and I suppose that doesn’t have to mean we catch and suffer from it all the time, but we do more often than not, and we often adjust our movement to minimize its impact, as well as the physiological reaction.

  11. The saying ‘you can cut the air with a knife’ is quite apt for a lot of work situations when people are in reaction to each other and carry hurts about situations that have arisen. This work environment, unfortunately, is commonplace today and almost expected – the sad news is that sitting in it does affect us.

  12. We harden our body or numb ourselves to not feel what is going on around us, having the idea this is needed as protection but we are hurting ourselves much more than when we would stay open and see how energy is playing with us, see how we are taken over by emotions and no longer ourselves.

  13. I have recently heard someone say that they could feel their joints becoming inflamed and painful when they became angry and emotional. Although most people don’t make the connection between the emotion and the illness, or use the illness to blame the person who ‘made’ them angry, the link is there to be seen if we open our eyes and are willing to listen to our body.

  14. We are feeling everything and trying our hardest not to feel – makes sense. In the attempt to harden and protect ourselves we hurt ourselves and cause illness in the body, and all the time we are feeling everything. What an illusion and what a waste – obviously this way of life is not working as illness and disease is rife and on the rise.

  15. There are times in my life where people have blasted me with anger and I have felt this permeate throughout and affect my entire body so yes how we are with and in our emotions etc can absolutely affect others just as a bacteria could. I feel inspired to learn more about connective tissue now! More about the Universe ✨

  16. “It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?” A great question Anne and Paul. We can and all do feel how much someone in a ‘bad mood’ can pull other people down as there can be a tendency to tiptoe around to not upset that person anymore. Or if someone is scared, the fear can spread like wild fire throughout a crowd of people. Do we choose to stay connected to who we are in situations such as these and remain steady and calm, or do we take on the emotion that has been released and let that run our body and consequently how we feel and then respond?

    1. Good question and I can picture the fear/anger racing through a crowd of people very easily. The person that does not absorb that emotion is often the leader that offers a path out, they have read the situation, they did not get swept up in it and therefore they can see more clearly what is needed to move through the situation.

  17. It makes so much sense that “we harden or contract in the face of anger” as anger is actually totally foreign to our body’s natural makeup. And of course, the more we feel angry the harder we, and every particle of our body, become and this is what we reflect to all those around us. Is it contagious? As far as I am concerned, yes, it is.

  18. All you have to do is watch a group of kids playing together contently and when another child joins the group in a demanding way and grabs the toys out of the hands of the others without asking it causes a ripple effect within the whole group and before you know it, they are all fighting and yelling at each other. The same goes for adults, but many times we are all too polite about how we feel and we then use all those techniques mentioned in this blog to not feel the hurt of someone acting in an angry or harsh way. The point is, that emotions are configurations of energy held within our bodies just like bacteria or viruses are configurations of molecules that enter the body. Just because the former is a nonphysical energy does not mean it does not have a direct effect on the body. Just look at how UV light can cause sunburn!

  19. ‘It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?’ Great question, and I have noticed that if a parent has an illness or disease, the child of that parent suffers the same illness and disease not through genetics but through making the same choices.

  20. It is as if the human psyche is an instrument laid bare for whoever so chooses to play out whatever it is they want to play out… Whether it be manipulation in the media, music scores from films that take us high and take us low… what we need is to be able to step back and feel our deep connection and the freedom that comes from this.

  21. I love what is highlighted here, it makes absolute sense how the choice to react to situations around us leads to dis-ease and imbalance in our body from burying our emotions and adopting behaviours to not feel uncomfortable in our body that realigns and reconfigures the way we move and express in contra to our natural rhythm and flow.

  22. Fascinating. Indeed, if we see someone in anger, and sympathise or absorb what is going on in them, we would be definitely affected by it. And thanks to Universal Medicine, I know how observing instead of absorbing keeps me detached from what goes on outside while I stay with myself – this is very much a work in progress, but I know it to be true. So this makes me wonder – how can that ‘observe and not absorb’ be applied in physiological form? Maybe the answer is in its refinement. Who knows? I only need to keep trying.

  23. Learning to be in the sea of emotions that swirl around us all the time without absorbing the impact of them is something that I found impossible until I attended Universal Medicine presentations and learnt I had a choice in whether I just observed the emotions in others or chose to absorb them with devastating effects on my mental and physical wellbeing. Working in an intense environment I am given multiple opportunities every day to go there or not and it is down to the choices I make from the moment I wake up whether I am able to stay with me and not get affected or not and also choosing to go Ooops when I make a non-loving choice and not wallow in the contagious emotions and choose to move in a way that reconnects me so that my body is supported through the rest of the day.

  24. Just recently I found myself saying to some elderly people who were afraid almost to go out in case they catch an illness or disease like flu – that the fear of the illness can be as contagious as the illness itself. In a sense in the fear we absorb the underlying cause of the illness we fear by giving our power away to the fear of it getting in. Trust yourself and your choices I say to myself and lovingly watch your own borders by not fearing.

  25. I have been reacting lately, and getting all emotional and the effect on my body has been intense. How do I know? Well it’s been a while since I have allowed myself to react, or I haven’t been triggered by hurts. Now that I have, I have a clear feeling in my body of what actually happens and it is very physical and very exhausting.

  26. This contagiousness seems to be quite well understood. A few decades ago a New York mayor said ‘I don’t get ulcers, I give ulcers’ (Ed Koch), as an example.

  27. When someone walks into a room we already know how they are feeling as we felt it long before our five sense came anywhere near them. That is the strength of our first sense – feeling.

  28. This makes perfect sense to me. Such contagions only enter through the door we leave open by virtue of our chosen blindness that the emotions of others are not having a physical and energetic effect on us. To seal the door and halt the absorption, we need only observe and give ourselves permission to ‘feel it all’ once more.

    1. Yes, to feel the unpleasantness in full rather than shut our senses to it. Otherwise we get affected without noticing it.

  29. There is a lot of proposed ways of dealing with emotions such as anger management or other ways, psychological solutions that numb, distract or manage the situation, yet none of those consider the impact of emotions on our health at such a refined level as in this article.

  30. When we talk contagion, we tend to concentrate on the end part of the story (conditions such as a cold, herpes, HIV, etc that are in one body and can get into another one). There is a part that flies under the radar. The emotional underpin of dis-ease.

  31. Stunning questions that shine a spotlight on an area of medical understanding that is sorely overlooked –
    that our emotional responses to our environment, particularly as prolonged patterns of behaviour, have every part to play in the advent of related dis-ease in the body which over time itself creates its own form of manifesting illness and disease.

  32. How important it is to address and feel our uncomfortable feelings and learn to let these go so that we do not build a dis-ease and hardness that reconfigures our whole body in being emotional reactive to situations around us which eventually leads to our malaise.

    1. This is the key to our health and vitality. If we don’t learn to deeply observe the world we have created – the good, the bad and the ugly – we will absorb it. It is this absorption that creates a dis-ease in our body that then leads to all illness and disease as we know it.

  33. Anne and Paul this blog is a great reminder to me of how often we disregard what we feel and know in our hearts is true for what is not true.

  34. A feeling is just a feeling and I am not meaning that some don’t appear it feels as though they are worse then others. But basically, a feeling is just a feeling and it is a choice for us to be aware of the feeling or not. We truly can never stop feeling and so to say you can choose to feel or not is actually not possible as it is only the awareness you can turn down. Anyway as we have said there are feelings we place more or less on and we attach things to and anger is one of them. Anger is something ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ etc and so we tend to shy away from it and avoid the awareness of the feeling, but what if we let go of labels, even for a moment and just bring the awareness to simply feel and be. Nothing else, no answers or solutions just the acknowledgement and the appreciation that you have felt something. It would seem our non acceptance first that we are feeling all the time leads to many perceived confusions or unknowns when in fact all is known from feeling, it’s just we need to come back to it.

  35. I love this Anne and Paul, opening up the possibility to live life seeing ALL as energy, and if this were true then we would in truth be harmed or healed by it. Imagine the responsibility you need to live if you chose to see this truth in its full light. You get to see why many turn a blind eye.

  36. It is quite a painful pill to swallow, but what I have come to understand is that this fact is better handled when we simply are being honest and no longer deny… A contagion that is dangerous as taking on others’ emotions is quite hard to undo, as they are not our emotions and we do not carry the root cause of it – hence harder to undo. Thank you.

  37. We absolutely live in a sea of emotions and so it makes sense that we are constantly trying to not feel what is all around us… and that these choices in fact harm us and not protect us as we falsely believe they do. The tension we all live with is insuppressible, and it and our coping mechanisms so common, they have sadly become normalized.

  38. I agree with all that this blog is saying, we are naturally extremely sensitive beings but there is a part of us that wants to stop feeling, it is a false form of protections I guess. There is this idea that if we could only switch off from everything we would be safer and there would be less to do, less responsibility.
    The way in which we escape can be different for each person but most of us choose, drinking and eating certain foods, over doing sport, emotions or television. No matter what your flavour it is all in an attempt to make those feelings feeling “go away”.
    The concept that we actually have a lot more say over if we get ill or not is very empowering, it means that if we allow ourselves the space to feel, rather than run, then we can use that space to know who we are solidly. We are less likely to become a sponge for others emotions, allowing ourselves to feel with zero judgement could potentially be very beneficial. Much like a gym membership or a great diet, if done daily and in a routine could be a huge step forward for us.

  39. So what we could say from all this is that energy is ‘contagious’ in the sense that if we do not discern whether another is coming from love or not (the only two sources we can align to) or react to what we feel then we can easily be influenced to join them in an emotional state that is not true to the love that we are.

    1. Very true which means that quite often our emotions are not even ours – in fact no emotions are really ours as at essence we are love and there is not one ounce of emotions in love.

  40. Anne and Paul, you are definitely on to something here. It’s easy to dismiss the impact of emotions because they’re not physically tangible (well, not until they actually affect the body). It’s much easier, for example, to have an awareness of the impact of food (even though our relationship with food is driven by the choices we make, which also starts with intangibles). Suffice to say, we definitely need to pay far more attention than we do to the emotions we take on, be they those of others, or beliefs, ideal and consciousnesses of varying kinds, or those we generate within ourselves as we react to life.

  41. You ask some great and pertinent questions here Anne, and offer much to ponder on. For it is true that when we experience someone who is in a ‘bad mood’, it can bring us down; in the same way when someone is in a ‘cheerful mood’ it can pick us up and we feel better. If it is so easy to be influenced by how another person feels there has to surely be some chemical reaction within the body which is bound to have an impact on it in one way or another.

  42. Considering emotions as contagious is a new and interesting angle and I think you make the point well. If myself is a marker in any way then I would say that we block our feelings to the extent that many of us would deny that we feel anything. Emotions tend to be considered a good thing that show that you are still alive and part of this world but the truth is that they are hugely harmful to both the person with the emotion and everyone they take it to.

  43. Emotions are like a virus that do make us unwell, feel ill-at-ease, and consequently we don’t feel ourselves at all. Emotions exhaust us, as we are taken over and driven by a reaction to a hurt, that in avoiding to address, continues to own and run us. As such we behave in ways that are loveless and in complete disregard to the truth of who we are and what we feel at heart.

  44. We really do put ourselves into so much complication and harm in the way we deal with things, we just don’t want to feel so much of what is being presented, we are really so invested in numbing ourselves. But as you very correctly state, the feelings are just there and do not go away, so they will come up at some point, and just may not be in a way that you think or know it will.

  45. It is really worth fully considering how much our bodies truly feel and as such that we are able to choose to respond instead of react to situations so that we do not absorb what is going on around us that has such an impact on our body in the short and in the longer term.

    1. Totally Linda, if we lived this truth (that everything is energy) we would see that not taking on energy is just as important as picking the right food for our body.

  46. Great and very needed reflection, as we all live surrounded by emotions. What better than ponder on the way we deal with them to not be hooked, sicken and led by them and its effects?

  47. Dealing with our ill-at-ease and what we feel, in every minute of the day, is our responsibility and our choice. I certainly agree that emotions are contagious, however we can learn not to absorb the emotions and situations of others; practice and learning from mistakes is the key.

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