You feel the emotions around the people around you. Some examples of these are collective anxiety, Zoom fatigue, etc.
When the pandemic began in 2020, the first negative emotion to spread was fear. Waves of panic crashed through communities, compelling people to purify packages and hoard hand sanitizer. As too many people lost loved ones, too many others lost jobs and everyone lost some semblance of normal life. The number of adults with symptoms of depression or anxiety spiked from one in 10 Americans to about four in 10.1
And there’s reason to believe these symptoms haven’t been caused only by the crisis itself — they’ve actually been transferred from person to person. Studies show that if your spouse, your family member or your roommate develops depression, you’re at heightened risk for it. And contagion isn’t limited to face-to-face interaction: Emotions can spread through social media posts and text messages, too.