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Stress and strangers

Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 4.6

Dolly Parton said, “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.”

In this episode, we talk about how to build empathy and connection, even with people you don’t know. Because the fact is, we could all use a few more smiles in our lives and in our communities.



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to Two for You. This episode is on stress and strangers. I recently read an article by Chuck Marohn, where he said this is the time to lean into humanity.

[Lori] Yeah, that's great.

[Denise] Yeah, and I think it's something that we need to keep in mind especially in times of stress. And we also have we also know that stress blocks empathy and when we're around people we go into a feeling of stress. Our brain just does this. So we have this double whammy going for us.

So one way to build that empathy is to play games. Research shows that when you can play games with others and you're working towards a common goal, you build your empathy and you actually increase trust.

[Lori] Yeah, so another great tip is having intentional practice, right. So one thing you could try is a meditation called loving-kindness, and I even do this with my kids. And you can click on the show notes that you could you can read more detail things or have someone else lead you through it.

But basically it is a layered meditation where you say the words something like may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be kind, and may you be happy. And we do this in the evenings and what it does is really, what's research shows, that helps empathy, to build our compassion for others, to increase our own well-being as well.

[Denise] And our third tip for you is to be aware of the mirror neurons we have throughout our brains. And they're just like they say they mirror the energy of people around you. But also you can take control of that and you can exude feelings of hope, positivity, gratitude, love. 

And when you do that, the energy goes into the crowded room instead of making everybody stressed. You're bringing them together in a sense of a good feeling that you can get through this together.

[Lori] Yeah, that's great. So here we go three tips for you. Play games to boost empathy, practice loving-kindness, and check your mirror neurons. Which message are you sending? So try one of those three as you live and lead with intention.

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

Reviewed in 2020

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