Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Words to Help You Let Go of Any Negative State

The next day, when I knew for sure she was gone, I went to the nearby Everglades. I felt like that was the closest place where I could be with God and ask why this had happened. When I left there, I picked up my mom to bring her to see Alyssa at the medical examiner's office. I looked up at the sky. It was orange and bright and the sun was penetrating. In that moment, frozen in time, I felt that Alyssa was at peace, that she was okay. Next, the two groups of students had to rate how much they liked the iPhone, the effort they would be prepared to put into obtaining one and how much they would agree to pay for it. The key result was as follows: people in the benign envy group (those who imagined admiring the student with the phone) were prepared to pay what Pieters calls `an envy premium'. And a substantial one. Indeed they said they'd pay nearly 50 per cent more for the phone than the malicious envy group (those who begrudged the student the phone). The experiment seemed to show that - even in an imagined scenario - if someone we admire has something we don't have, then we are more likely to want it and indeed to work to get it. But there is a caveat. This sort of positive envy seems only to work in situations in which the thing someone else has, and for which we long, is somehow achievable. Pieters uses the example of a neighbour having a better lawnmower. We see it, envy our neighbour for it, want it, and because it's only a lawnmower (and presumably our neighbour can't be that much better off than us) we determine to get one too. It's a bit like what used to be called `keeping up with the Joneses'. Let's step into the unknown and see what happens. Nothing more. A lightness comes over, things become playful. I generally find that when I just let myself run the experiment I'm suddenly free to see a whole stack of openness and freedom ahead.

No one knows, no one has answers, let's get creative and loose and alive. And then it becomes the most fun ever to just sit, calmly and lightly and playfully, and see what happens next. Does Maria Shriver walk in? Does a more beautiful question arise? Do you feel differently? Do you, strangely, feel like you might have arrived in some flow? In one study, doing this once a day, five days a week for four weeks reduced baseline sympathetic tone and increased parasympathetic tone. Avoid Negative, Stressed People When you look into someone's eyes, you may synchronize your pupils with that person's. Your pupil size reflects your stress level. If you interact with calm people, you are more likely to become calmer. If you surround yourself with genuinely happy and positive people, you catch their happiness. Mood is infectious. So avoid negative people! Mood is infectious. A study that followed more than four thousand people in a social network over twenty years found that happiness can extend to up to three degrees of separation--to the friend of a friend of a friend. I'm not sure that I felt at peace, though, because at that time I felt as if I were on drugs. I had never taken drugs, but I could just imagine because my head was spinning and everything felt surreal. I took a photograph that day of the orange sky and it's become the visual anchor of our website. It's a tangible reminder to me of Alyssa, like her hair, which I keep in a glass box in her bedroom.

These are my guiding lights, and they will always accompany me on my mission. FROM MICHELLE I knew from the get-go that I wanted to have a mom in this article who had dealt with the unthinkable tragedy of school violence. Who could be stronger than that? I was sitting in my living room one week before the manuscript was due and as always I knew it would come to me. I just had a feeling, like I'd experienced with every other story. The Joneses had the nicer house and nicer car, but they were still just the Joneses. Keeping up with the Kardashians on the other hand, well that's just silly. Our strategy in the case of super-rich people like the Kardashians, or even more so with someone like Donald Trump, is to turn our envy into contempt, to despise them for having so much money while having absolutely zero taste. This is surely why magazines like Hello and OK! We enjoy being `invited into the lovely home' of such-and-such a minor royal or Premier League footballer, because we're confident that it will be full of ghastly gold taps or white leather sofas. It gives us the chance to - metaphorically - trash the place, while making us more satisfied with our own, more modest lot. A follow-up experiment by Pieters demonstrated this type of reaction. This time, his participants were able to bid either for an iPhone or for a Blackberry. Those imagining malicious envy were once again not prepared to pay as much as the benign enviers for the iPhone. They preferred to go (and pay more) for the Blackberry. Your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. Not my words; Rainer Maria Rilke's. As I say, my fear of not knowing is particularly gnarly.

It kept tipping me into that overwhelm cycle and holding me back. So I took myself off to therapy. I needed to train my doubt. I found Natalie, a psychotherapist. I told her I was sick of talking about my issues. I wanted to get radical and step up into the next phase of my maturing. If you are surrounded by happy people, you are more likely to be happy in the future. This effect even extends beyond your immediate surroundings. If you have a friend who lives within a mile of you and that friend becomes happy, the chances of you becoming happy go up by 24 percent. This effect is magnified by the world of social media. If you scroll through your social media newsfeed and find negative posts, you are much more likely to enter into a negative frame of mind. Curate whose posts you see in your feed, with this in mind. THREE WAYS TO STAY RELAXED Exercise in the morning. Regularly visit a sauna. Avoid negative people, stories, and situations. I was focused on the mom who grabbed the microphone during a CNN piece and challenged our president after the Parkland shooting. How could I find her? I looked her up online and in one simple phone call, which she herself answered, we spoke right away like old friends do. Lori said she would be honored to be in the article.

Truthfully, I am the one who is honored that she took the time to share her story. Her faith in her daughter's presence in the orange sky was one of the most profound moments during my interview. It reminds me of this verse: SO WE FIX OUR EYES NOT ON WHAT IS SEEN, BUT WHAT IS UNSEEN. FOR WHAT IS SEEN IS TEMPORARY, BUT WHAT IS UNSEEN IS ETERNAL. God bless Alyssa and Lori and may they both be a part of many beautiful orange skies. It seems they wanted to differentiate themselves from their colleague with the iPhone (who they envied but whose success they begrudged rather than admired) by choosing another kind of phone entirely and convincing themselves that theirs was better. Envy turns out to be quite a complicated emotion, and - judging by this research - a complex emotion to study. But for our purposes, the important thing to conclude from all this is that while envy often is negative, in some circumstances it can have a positive effect on us, at least to the extent of spurring us on. WASHING YOUR HANDS OF MISERABLY SMALL LIES Like envy, we don't generally approve of lying. There are some exceptions of course. What on earth is that monstrosity, you think, on first seeing the hat your friend is wearing at her daughter's wedding. How lovely, you say, when she comes over and tells you it cost L100. You're lying, of course, but it's a white lie to protect your friend's feelings. And then there are lies told for the greater good, such as insisting to the baddies that the man they're chasing ran that way. I'd been pissing around my edges. Like a cocky teen who doesn't know what she doesn't know. I wasn't in the arena, as Theodore Roosevelt (and Brene Brown) put it. I've gone to a plethora of shrinks and coaches over the years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.