Social Contagion


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In chemistry there is a system of balance known as Osmosis wherein water seeks balance. A little known fact is that another definition of osmosis is “the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.” This can be a wonderful process or it can destroy us. It all depends on who and what we allow close to us. If we associate with unhealthy people with unhealthy habits, we will most likely pick up their habits. If we surround ourselves with health seeking people who have our best interest at heart, we will reap the benefits. If we allow abusers into our lives, we will be hurt.

There is a phenomenon known as “social contagion” ( wherein we become like the group of people that surround us. If we live in an area where obesity is common, we are more likely to become obese. Think about it. If we go to a friends home who pushes sugar and other simple carbs on us, we are put under pressure to “be social”, to “relax a little”…after all, it’s just one day, right? The problem is, when we are surrounded by this behavior all the time, those days become the norm and our health suffers. I had a “frienemy” who made cheesecake that took her 8, yes, EIGHT hours to make. She would bring this heavenly concoction to my house and leave it on the doorstep. I gained 45# in 6 months, dumped the “frienemy”, and lost the weight. She actually told me that she didn’t want me to be smaller than her after we went our separate ways.

If we spend the afternoon talking with a fit friend, going for a brisk walk, focusing on health, we naturally up our game. We become what we think about. If we spend our waking moments immersed in the health/wellness culture, reading about ways to be healthy, talking with like-minded people we naturally get healthier. The habits and ideas instilled in us during our exposure to health and fitness media and conversations will naturally change our habits for the better. Our direction has been set and all we have to do is accelerate. The sky is the limit.

There is an even darker side to “social contagion”, abuse. If we begin to associate with a charismatic individual who has the ability to shape our ideas and the ideas of others, who is devoid of moral responsibility and who has a personal agenda, we can be manipulated into bad behaviors and self-loathing. Along with decreased self esteem comes the urge to binge and seek comfort in sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Usually the abuser will encourage bad habits in a subtle way, telling you “Don’t be too hard on yourself”. The result is unstable weight fluctuations. As your self-esteem plummets, you will be more easily controlled. That is his intention. Kick him to the curb. He does not have your best interest in mind.

Make sure to visit David’s Way frequently. We’re here for you…and we have your best interest at heart.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura says:

    Another excellent article Brenda!

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Thank you, Laura 😘

      1. Shelly Marchese says:

        Completely agree with this/these ideas of osmosis. The people we associate with really does shape our world. Thanks for the reminders

      2. Brenda Sue says:

        You’re welcome, Shelly! Thank you for reading ♥️

    2. davidyochim says:

      Glad you enjoyed Brenda’s article Laura. We thank you, very humbly for your tremendous support my friend. God bless.

  2. Pam adams says:

    Brenda, great article! I completely agree with this. It’s easy to get sucked into a bad or unhealthy relationship. But we always have a choice. I choose to surround myself with positive people who are active..
    Thank you!

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Hi there, Pam. You are an amazing positive woman. Your choice of friends looks good on you. I admire you. ♥️

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