Epiphany to Easter Sculpting Project 3: Three Bites of Vitamin P : Week 2
I pull the jar off the shelf and remember the fresh peaches that filled it this past summer. Perfectly ripe fresh peaches. Now I am looking at snow out the window and grateful to have the canned version. Three bites of pleasure await me. Why am I bothering to take the mental energy to pay attention to 3 bites of these peaches? Why make the effort to do any of these Sculpting Projects? In part, I am doing this for me. I know these little projects will train me in greater well-being. But there is another compelling reason.
I’ve confined myself to the airplane seat. The stewardess is giving her speech to those caring for children, “Put on your own oxygen mask first.” Sounds selfish. But if we aren’t breathing we won’t be of much help to anyone else. This is one of the reasons I take a few minutes a day to do these Sculpting Projects. Because if I’m not thriving I won’t be helping anyone else thrive. My well-being, for better or worse, is contagious.
If we get happier our friends are 45% more likely to be happy. If our roommate is depressed we are more likely to become depressed.
Emotions are contagious to everyone around us. Friends and strangers
One reason is that God has built mirror neurons in our brains.
I walk into our church sanctuary and see Lisa smiling at me. My mirror neurons note this expression and tell my facial muscles to copy it. My facial muscles send a message back to my brain saying, ‘This is a happy expression, let’s feel happy.’ Then I turn around and see baby Simeon who is tired and hungry. His sad expression registers in my mirror neurons and they lead me to the sad facial expression and feeling. This gives me the ability to understand how others feel.
Behaviors and ideas are contagious, too. But they spread to our friends.
If we gain weight our close friends are 45% more likely to also gain weight.
But this contagion doesn’t stop with our close friends. Our friend’s friend is 25% more likely to gain weight.
And it keeps going. Our friend’s friend’s friend is 10% more likely to gain weight. This is influence to the 3rd degree of separation.
We are influencing the weight of may people we may never met.
Our behaviors are powerful to effect change in our worlds.
If you want to explore your power to influence and be influenced by others:
Quick version: 6 minute talk by James Fowler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMkr0ZvgW9U
Mid-length: Ted Talk by Nicholas Christakis with social-psyc. emphasis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U-tOghblfE
Long version: Read Connected by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler
So, why am I bothering to take the mental energy to pay attention to 3 bites of these peaches? Because this is one way I seek to love my neighbor as myself.
Sculpting Project: Three Bites of Vitamin P: Week 2
Each day get as much pleasure as possible out of 3 bites of food.
Post us what you ate.
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)