Just One Thing

Are some things getting better? The Practice: See progress. Why? There are always things that are getting worse. For example, over the past year, you probably know someone who has become unemployed or ill or both, and there’s more carbon in the atmosphere inexorably heating up the planet. But if...

What do their faces say to you? The Practice: Receive faces. Why? As our ancestors evolved over millions of years in small bands, continually interacting and working with each other, it was vitally important to communicate in hundreds of ways each day. They shared information about external "carrots"...

Humans are vulnerable to being alarmed, manipulated, and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.” Understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry...

How do you talk to people? The Practice: Try a softer tone. Why? Linguists like Deborah Tannen have pointed out that most communications have three elements: Explicit content – “There is no milk in the refrigerator.” Emotional subtext – Could be irritation, blame, accusation Implicit statement about the nature...

What's to like? The Practice: See what's likable. Why? Liking feels good, plus it encourages us to approach and engage the world rather than withdraw from it. Your brain continually tracks whether something is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. In essence, is it a carrot, a stick, or safely ignored?...

Do You Care? The Practice: Have compassion. Why? Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer - from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish - combined with feelings of sympathetic concern. You could have compassion for an individual (a friend in the hospital, a co-worker...

Friend or Foe? The Practice: Be friendly. Why? Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive. Think about a time when someone was friendly to you - maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did...

Even though it's scary, everyone longs to be seen, to be known. To have your hopes and fears acknowledged - the ones behind a polite smile or a frown of frustration. To have your true caring seen, as well as your positive intentions and natural...

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