Look at grass. We say it is green. But it’s not inherently green. It’s green for us because we have 3 photoreceptors in our eyes that are sensitive to specific wavelengths of light. If we had different photoreceptors, grass would appear different.
"My old self would have found crying in front of so many people highly embarrassing so I would have gulped down some deep breaths, maybe cleared my throat and pretended to look at the ceiling, all to hide my emotion. I would have tried to ‘Man up’."
Everybody knows what stress feels like. We also know what it feels like when we’re kind, when someone is kind to us, or even when we witness kindness. The feelings are opposite. Most of the effects inside the body are the opposite too.
I spent some time in New York City last weekend. I’m writing a series of pieces for Psychologies Magazine called ‘The Kindness Conversation’ where I basically have, well, conversations about kindness. In New York, I had my kindness conversation with Cynthia Germanotta, mother of Lady Gaga.
The brain, in many ways, doesn’t distinguish real from imaginary. Take a simple example of stress. Your brain responds to a stressful situation by releasing stress hormones. But your brain also releases the stress hormones when you remember a past stressful event or even when you vividly imagine one.