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. Aren’t our brains amazing?