Watching the Helpers and Dopamine

As we excavate the literal and figurative layers of darkness and debris resulting from Harvey and Irma, many of us find it difficult to see the healing beginning to emerge.  Our childhood memories of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” reminds us of how his mom helped him cope with seeing natural disasters: “watch the helpers,” she told him all those years ago.
As human beings, we are hardwired for kindness – to pull together, form communities, cooperate, coordinate, create and build.
As we help the gulf states recover over the next number of weeks, watch the helpers.  Research is showing us how witnessing kindness raises our dopamine levels – connecting to and reinforcing our fundamental nature of collective healing.  We feel good enough to perform such acts ourselves so we contribute to the momentum of restoration.
Seeing ourselves as part of the recovery can soften our challenge to stay in an optimistic place.  This emphasis on recovery instead of injury encourages more healing.  It’s a focus that becomes sharper as we watch the helpers.
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“Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person can heal, and our life can continue.” – Mark Nepo