Freeze Power and Emotional Osmosis

I didn’t post yesterday because I was frozen in place on a park trail.

While I was taking a walk with my favorite 7-year old, she held up her hand and said…

“I have freeze-power. When I go like this…

you freeze…and you can’t move until I unfreeze you.”

She didn’t unfreeze me until today. No need to worry…I was lucky enough to be wearing a warm winter coat.

Are you aware of YOUR super-duper powers?  You do have them, don’t ya know.  You might not be able to freeze someone instantaneously by holding up your hand like my favorite 7-year-old, but your emotional state is infectious to everyone around you.  And in reverse, you are constantly being infected by the emotions of people who you’re spending your time with. Think of it as Emotional Osmosis.

The theory is this…

  • If you spend much of your time with miserable people, then, over time, you will become miserable.
  • If you spend your time with happy, energetic people, they will infect you with happiness and energy.

This has long been a concept in business success. Leonardo Da Vinci believed it.  Shakespeare even wrote about it in Julius Caesar.  More recently, in the book called The 48 Laws of Power, a National Bestseller, Law 10 is titled Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky. It talks about Emotional Osmosis and advises…

There are people who attract happiness to themselves by their good cheer, natural buoyancy, and intelligence. They are a source of pleasure, and you must associate with them to share in the prosperity they draw upon themselves. This applies to more than good cheer and success. All positive qualities can infect us. If you are gloomy, gravitate to the cheerful. If you are prone to isolation, force yourself to befriend the gregarious. Never associate with those who share your defects – they will reinforce everything that holds you back.


Thinking about myself, my state of mind can definitely be influenced by the emotional states of others.  I just spent three days with a good friend who is smart, thoughtful, positive, fun, outgoing…and speaks her mind.  It was like a virus.  She infected me with positivity and I feel happier already.  I believe that other people can’t change your BACKBONE, but they can definitely push on it…one way…or the other.

What do you think about Emotional Osmosis? Is the theory valid?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Renee on November 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Absolutely … 100%. I actually like to be the one infecting others with good spirits whenever possible!!


  2. I think people definitely take on others’ emotions and positivity/negativity – it always surprises me how one nice person can raise my whole day!


  3. Posted by S1 and S2 on November 27, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Your favorite 7-year old says she has frozen you again…not sure what to tell you!

    I think the positive feelings that might start with one can be very cyclical. As someone said in an earlier post, they like to be the one who positively “infect” others. So the “infector” and the “infectee” create a super positive cycle that can escalate and create a positivity infection that can spread to adjoining cycles and start an epidemic!

    The cycle can work the other way too unfortunately and it is best to avoid these situations even if they are good friends that are involved. Sometimes when I feel a friendship gets too focused on the negatives I ask my friend that we “finish” talking about whatever it is that is bringing us down and not talk about it again…many times it is me that has to stop my ranting and I find it best to just throw it out there to the friends I trust and those that I know will remind me that we finished that discussion! It helps to let people help you get out of a rut!


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