Every atom in your body was made in a star! That means those that make your heart, brain cells, skin, hair, teeth, bones, even the air you breathe, plus those that compose the trees, dogs and cats, rabbits and horses, lions, tigers, and bears, Oh my!
The brain, in many ways, doesn’t distinguish real from imaginary. Take a simple example of stress. Your brain responds to a stressful situation by releasing stress hormones. But your brain also releases the stress hormones when you remember a past stressful event or even when you vividly imagine one.
I remember waiting in line a coffee shop once, and a woman drove over my foot on a mobility scooter. She didn’t look back to apologise. At the time I did have a thought that a person would usually have said sorry, but I let it go because, well, you never know.
I spent a day earlier in the week at a primary school where I was talking to young children about the importance of kindness. It was a school outside Glasgow, Scotland, on the invitation of my friend, John – aka Mr McLellan. The school has a dedicated ASD unit.
In these strangest of times, we’re being encouraged to keep our physical distance, but let’s reduce our emotional distance. Pick up the phone, send a text, use Facetime, WhatsApp or Skype. Be there for family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, others in your community, if you can.
Are we wired to be kind? Absolutely! Although I think some would disagree. It seems that the business model that’s operated for the past hundred years or so has been based on ‘survival of the fittest’, with the idea that humans are inherently selfish.
I’ve written a lot about the links between kindness and ageing, and part of my focus has been that kindness is the opposite of stress, at least in terms of how it makes us feel and the physiological consequences of those feelings.