Mirror Neurons on the Wall….Mirror Neurons make You Smile

Mirror neurons on the wall….mirror neurons make you smile. This is a twist from one of the scariest fairy tales I’ve ever heard, Sleeping Beauty. But, what are mirror neurons, and why are they important?

They’re important because we have a tendency to mirror behavior that we observe. Imagine that you are having a bad day, and you come across someone who flashes you a radiant smile. Even though you may be carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, the natural tendency is to smile back. Immediately your mood is lighter. You feel like your load has been lifted a bit, and all of a sudden your day just got better.

It’s not simply because someone smiled at you that lifted your spirits. When you see someone smile, there are neural pathways in your brain that are activated. These pathways cause you to experience the same emotion that the other person is feeling.

On the other hand, if you’re in a fabulous mood, a scowl from a perfect stranger can ruin your day before you even know what’s happening. Mirror neurons are really pretty cool, because it helps us instantaneously understand what other people are feeling. It’s a great way to communicate with perfect strangers, and it helps us be more empathetic.

However, we need to be mindful of this little magic trick that nature has provided for us. While it is important to be able to connect with people at every level, if you surround yourself with people who are negative, critical, or judgmental, it’s just a matter of time before you will feel exactly the way they do. And you’ll behave that way as well. Conversely, if you surround yourself with positive people, you will lift each other up and the positive energy is self-perpetuating. It’s a beautiful thing.

So, make a habit of surrounding yourself with positive people. And the next time you see someone who looks like they’re having a bad day, please give them a warm smile. make sure it starts with your eyes and comes from your heart. You’ll light up their mirror neurons and brighten their day. You might even change their life. All from mirror neurons that make you smile. Isn’t that amazing?

Be Careful What You Tell Yourself

Be careful what you tell yourself. Words are very powerful, and what you believe it what you become.

Several years ago my husband and I were traveling to Atlanta to visit his family. We were on the train from the concourse to baggage claim and I was practicing a technique I learned in martial arts. I stood with my eyes closed, my knees bent, and without holding onto anything, I practiced finding my balance while I sensed the movement of the train.

As I was getting into a meditative state, I heard a loud voice say, “I have to sit down, because I’m an old lady! When you’re an old lady, you can sit down, too.” I opened my eyes and saw a woman squeezing into the last available seat and talking to a little girl standing near her. I closed my eyes and went back to my musings and practice while the woman continued her litany about being an old lady.

When we got off the train and moved toward the escalators, I automatically went to the stairs while the woman continued, “I have to take the escalator because I’m a old lady!” “Good grief,” I wondered, “How old is this lady anyway?” I turned around to look at her and almost fell the rest of the way down the stairs. She had to have been at least ten years younger than I was at the time! What kind of message was she sending to herself, as well as to that little girl?

Getting older is inevitable–being old is a choice. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, as well as the detrimental effects of negative self-talk. Be very careful what you tell yourself, because what you hear (even from yourself), is what you believe. And what you believe is what you become. And I believe that all of us are beautiful. I also believe that we can be healthy, active, vibrant and fit, and every age and in every stage of life. Believe it!