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Mirror Images

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It’s December 21st, T-minus 4 days until Christmas. Tensions are running high, and you can begin to see the look of panic in passerby’s eyes as they rush to get their last-minute shopping done. While the holidays are intended to bring out the best of everyone, sometimes they can bring out quite the opposite.

A couple years back, I wrote about making an impression and how people respond to different cues you present, such as making eye contact and body language. Have you ever noticed that the people you’re interacting with mirror the attitude you’re putting forth?

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s neurophysiologists at the University of Parma conducted several experiments that showed the brains activity when they observed a task being done and discovered that the same parts of the brain engage in the person acting and observing the task. They called this the Mirror Neurons.  What the theory basically says is that neurons in our brains mimic the behaviors that we observe.  Granted, most of the studies were conducted on monkeys, but some of the science seems to apply to us humans as well.  Go ahead and get your smile in. ?

Think about it: if you hold the door open for a stranger with a smile, how often do you receive a smile in return with a “thank you”? Or if you’re venting to a friend about an inconvenience that you experienced with a scowl, how often do you see your friend reacting in a similar way that you did?

The attitude that we project while out in public is more influential than we may be aware of. As we navigate our way through the thick of the holiday season, take time to smile at a passerby, say hello to your mailman or help a friend find the perfect gift. Your positivity could turn someone’s day around and encourage them to spread good cheer themselves.

“Smile and the world smiles with you…” –  Stanley Gordon West

Wishing everyone a very merry holiday. Don’t forget to smile ?