Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
Matthew 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Hello and welcome back!
If you are joining us for the first time, we invite you to read the first article in this series before going further. That article focused on the biological effects that stress has on our bodies and the people around us.
To summarize the first article:
- stress permanently damages the cells in our bodies and weakens our immune system
- all our feelings, emotions and experiences are passed down to our children and future generations
- negative changes can only be reversed when the stress is gone
- meditation helps us to think first before we act on impulse (think before you speak)
- we have the potential to live forever
In this article, we will focus on the practical reasons on why you need to get rid of all the stress in your life and the most effective methods to get that heavy task done in the shortest time possible.
Getting to the root of the problem
We all have an ego.
The ego is what we often mistake as being who we really are. All the experiences that we personally lived through, the character that we build, the pride and self-esteem that we value can all be found here.
This is the part of us that we project to others in our lives. We call this our personality.
As you might already know, people can be easily influenced. It's part of our nature. We are hard-wired to seek acceptance from our family, friends, coworkers, basically anyone we come into contact with.
We were all born to be social. We don't like feeling left out. We will even lie to people in order to fit in and be accepted. For many, the feeling of being isolated under any circumstances is very bad medicine for the body.
When we feel negative emotions, these feelings usually come from our ego. When we feel positive emotions, these feelings usually come from our soul. These feelings also come from the influence of the people around us in our lives. We often imitate those who we appreciate, so much of our character and personality comes from here. Also, as discussed in our previous article, much of our personality traits are inherited not just from our parents, but goes back many many generations in the past! So you can see that the person you thought you were is much more complex a creature than you once might have thought!
Please take a moment to examine the picture below.
We can see groupings of feelings. One from the head and the other from the heart.
Let's try this simple exercise!
Take one word from each group. Now think of a situation where you experienced that word with another person.
How did it make you feel? If you had to use that word towards that person, how did it make you feel? If you the other person used that word towards you, how did it make you feel?
If you're not sure how or what to answer, do not worry! Here's some information that should help you to understand this exercise better!
Every primate (all warm-blooded animals) comes equipped with a specialized set of brain cells called "mirror neurons".
These cells serve an extremely important function in our personal and social development and behavior.
Right behind your forehead is where all the action is!
I hope you paid close attention to the text in the two pictures above. This pretty much sums up what mirror neurons do.
They allow us to understand other people and animals simply by watching and observing them. The side effect is that by nature we are hard-wired to feel the emotions that other people and animals feel.
That's right! What you do, how you react, how you think and feel can all be felt by other people without having to say a word or write what it is that you are feeling.
In the picture above we see an example of the person in blue observing the person in red who is about to pick up a cup of coffee (Step 1).
As the person in red reaches for the cup and before he picks it up, the person in blue is subconsciously imagining himself reaching for that same cup of coffee (Step 2).
At the same time, the person in blue understands that the person in red has the desire to drink that cup of coffee, and therefore has empathy (the ability to sense or feel things by observation, Step 3).
Note that the person in red all this time has not yet touched the cup of coffee, while in a matter of seconds the person in blue has already felt and understood the experience of what it would be like to drink that cup of coffee!
This is the undeniable proof that we are deeply affected by other people's moods, thoughts, and actions at a distance!
There is truth to the old saying "monkey see, monkey do"!
As we can see in the picture above, the brain activity in the monkey remains the same whether he is the one holding the banana or is observing someone else holding the banana.
We learn from each other, whether it is intentional or not. That's just the way we were made. It's a fact of life that we all must come to terms with and accept.
How our thoughts and actions affect others
From this, I hope it is clear at this point that we understand that each and every one of us is connected to each other, quite literally in very deep and intimate ways.
Let's take a moment to consider the following 3 images:
In each of these images, we see how a parent can easily influence the mood and behavior of a child just by observation.
Today in the social media age, we have our smartphones, Facebook, YouTube and myriad of websites and online services that anyone from children to seniors can alter a person's mood and behavior.
These days, almost everyone has access to one if not several smart devices that allow them to connect to social networks where sharing information and exchanging emotions and feelings can be done instantly!
What used to take days or months to reach people in faraway places now takes seconds!
This might be great for sharing helpful information to those in need, however the downside is that those mirror neurons now have a much easier way to affect people with mood disorders, dependency issues, who are chronically ill or depressed, or worse people who have intentions to harm others because of misplaced feelings or lack of empathy.
People who have little or no guidance in life often turn to social media to seek attention. Doctors, psychologists, and pills are expensive. Social media isn't quite free, but it's much easier to access and get that "hit" that we are looking for to feel better about ourselves or our situation in life.
As you can see, we all have a serious problem on our hands. All of us to some degree suffer from some form of mental illness, whether we wish to accept it or not.
This is a serious situation that cannot go untreated. I hope this article helps you to understand just how easy it is for us to exchange our moods and feelings without realizing it.
The battle between the ego and the soul.
This is the root of all our social problems.
The question now remains how to treat this problem.
There are only two choices really: the traditional method using medications and psychotherapy or by faith in a higher power. Some people turn to one, or the other, or a combination of both.
In our next article, we will explore both methods in detail so we can see first hand which method is better than the other, and the resources and tips you can use to regain control of your life, and maybe save a friend or family member too.