We can catch someone else’s feelings with the same speed as we can catch a cold from them. We live in an invisible emotional economy where the moods of the people around you – good and bad become the basis of the emotional transactions of your day. A day full of people who are optimistic and happy is likely going to be remembered as a good day, just as a day with more than one conflict or stressful situation can easily be marked off as another bad day. This is the emotional economy of our lives and while we all have different degrees of impact, the people we encounter and surround ourselves with, profoundly influence whether you are living in a rich or desolate emotional landscape.

For sure, some people are more susceptible than others- my husband the psychiatrist is, thankfully, professionally trained to keep his distance, but still, it isn’t hard to imagine the toll of a long day of very sad people walking through your office. I, on the other hand, am it seems to me at times, entirely porous. Daily experiences or even the swinging moods of my children who cover the full range of of adolescent experiences keep me bobbing up and down like a buoy in turbulent waters.

Regardless of how open you are to other people’s moods, it is helpful to realize that our emotional economy is affecting more than only our mood. Our experience of our days shapes how we feel about our lives and has a very real impact on our health and the potential success we bring to almost any venture. Choosing wisely the relationships we can sustain in a positive and loving way and clearing out the relationships that have no upside is perhaps the single most significant step you can take to living in a healthy emotional economy, which is the foundation for all the rest.