As a child, I used to play tag a lot. Though it has many variations, the premise is simple: one person is “it”, and they run and touch someone else, who is then “it”, and then they touch someone else, and so on. I never really liked that game very much; but there’s another kind of game I’d like to try now.

I’ll give you four words, and you try to figure out how they’re all connected. Your four words are: flu, yawning, applause and happiness. What do they all have in common?

If you guessed that they were all contagious, you were right!

The flu is an airborne disease – in other, not-so-sciency words, it’s contagious. Yawning, as strange as it might seem, is actually contagious. It’s a fact that is hard to believe until you see someone else yawn and then you do the same. Applause isn’t necessarily contagious the way that the flu is, but it’s definitely similar.

Ever sat with a large group of people, watching a performance, and awkwardly not known whether or not you should clap? (and, if you should, with how much enthusiasm? Would cheering and screaming be too much?) Most likely, what other people did influenced your decision (even if you weren’t consciously aware of it). So you have experienced the power of contagious applause.

Last, but certainly not least, happiness. It has been said that when one individual smiles, the world smiles with them. And who could forget the highly contagious phenomenon known as “random acts of kindness”?!

Random acts of kindness are simple (almost as simple as playing tag). As the name suggests, they consist of acts of kindness, performed randomly, usually for random people. A great example is paying for the meal for the person behind you at the drive-thru. This random act of kindness may inspire the person receiving a free meal to do the same thing for the person behind them; and, before you know it, a whole chain of kind, random acts has appeared!

The word contagious is most often associated with illnesses, so it does have a sort of negative connotation. However, there are so many more things that are contagious; things that are positive, and don’t involve being sick!

So here is my challenge for you: smile at someone. Perform a random act of kindness. Make someone else happy. And encourage others to do the same. Start something contagious that won’t leave people sick at home searching for the right kind of medicine while barely being able to walk. This is me, tagging YOU to do something contagious.

If you have a wordpress blog, write something inspiring and contagious. Tag sherinaspeaks if you want me to check it out!