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Mirror Neurons

Hand holding striped rock

Some of you may not know I’ve had to work through some anxiety about flying. In addition to the benefit of just flying more, I’ve created little rituals when we are first taking off to help me stay relaxed as this is the time that creates stress (in addition to turbulence). One part of this ritual is listening to familiar music that relaxes me like Disney Theme Park Music (yes it exists), Christmas or classical.

The newest addition to my ritual is that I hold this beautiful stone from my dear friend Kim Novotny from Light the Earth. This stone’s impact is not one of a worry stone per say, but it helps relax me because of the way it responds to me. Woah Sarah, a rock is responding to you?? Maybe you need more sleep! (that’s not an untrue statement).  Let me explain: when you’ve held this rock in your hands for a bit, it absorbs and amplifies your body heat. And it is this extra warmth that I find very soothing. 

I’ve had this rock for a few months, but during a flight I made a powerful Aha!  You see, we aren’t so different from this stone. We absorb the energy of those around us and our energy is absorbed by others. This energy can create any number of reactions, from warmth and comfort, to frantic and fast, to cold and unapproachable, to draining and exhaustion. 
I bet at the drop of a hat you could list several people in your life that totally light up a room when they walk in. Or someone who can make all your worries just melt away with a simple hug. I also bet we can list people that suck the energy out of a conversation. And the truth teller moment: we’ve likely all had moments when we were the latter. 

Your Impact Is Deeper Than You Think

Did you know there is incredible science to explain this phenomenon? Research shows that once we are within 8-10 feet of a person our bodies start responding to their neurological state of mind. Scientist call this reaction “Mirror Neurons” (for more check out this article). Our bodies react and experience similar energy as those around us.  
We are always making an impact in every moment we have with someone. And now you know your impact runs even deeper. This impact is as much non-verbal as it is verbal. It’s as much your inner state of being as it is how you’re showing up in a conversation.  

Get Curious

The next time you are around other people ask yourself “What impact do I want to make?” And maybe, you’re not in the right state of mind to make a positive impact. Maybe you are frantic and unfocused and exhausted. Even though you can put on a smile and attempt a meaningful conversation, your body is already putting out signals that don’t reflect a great impact. So, it’s OK to step away, give yourself that grace. And if you notice someone else stepping away at an event or in a conversation, give them that grace as well! 

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