We’re wired to care.
Compassion, our default mode.
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Our world moves so fast that it often causes us to be under significant stress. As such, instead of responding from a position of compassion and understanding, we develop habits for seeing ordinary situations as threats. This puts us in “fight or flight” mode, which causes us to see people as either friends or enemies.
We need look no further than the front page of any newspaper to see how this results in divisions and polarization.
When we slow down, when we see others as fundamentally wanting the same things as we do, and when we approach a difference of opinion with curiosity, our heart rates and blood pressures go down, and our immune systems are activated.
A simple thing to do to help with this, one that gets even easier with practice, is to take a deep breath in and then exhale slowly when you find you are irritated, angry, or frustrated. Having taken that first breath, take a second.
Mindful breathing to humans is like restarting your computer when it has frozen. It’s a natural reboot, something that returns us to our default mode.