I was at the local drug store early in the morning – pre-dawn. Not moving quickly or feeling particularly peppy, and no one else appeared to be, either. But as I checked out, the clerk said with a smile, “Have a good morning and be well.” It made me smile back. I replied, “I know you have to say that, but it’s really nice that you do.” The young woman said, “No, I like to. If you’re happy, I’m happy.”
What she said reminded me of mirror neurons, a newly discovered system of brain cells that are making a big splash in the field of neuroscience about the way we humans understand others, and therefore ourselves. Among the many theories being researched about mirror neurons is one regarding empathy and social interactions, which was my direct experience with the store clerk. When I saw her smile and heard her voice, it fired up a series of neurons in my brain. Her positive tone and mood helped to lift mine. I could feel it happening, and I was in a good mood for the rest of the morning. I benefitted from this brief interaction with a kind stranger in the early morning, and my family and clients benefitted too.
We can choose to have a good morning, and we can help ourselves – just like the young woman helped me. Get those mirror neurons firing. Say to yourself in the mirror: “Have a good day, and be well.” (Don’t worry, no one is watching you.) And say it to the first person you meet as you go out into the world. It will help them, and it will help you. It is a great way to start the day.