The mammalian brain is primed for jealousy.
It is a staple of human interaction.
Any infringement on one’s territory (land, family, lover, money, etc.) will stimulate a flight/fight/freeze reaction.
Unfortunately, unmanaged jealousy often leads to disaster for relationships.
WHAT’S THE BEST SOLUTION?
Bring mindfulness into your communication. Invite everyone involved to have a dialogue grounded in “Compassionate Communication.” Share your deepest relationship values. Speak briefly and warmly. Listen deeply and ask everyone else to do the same. Share your vulnerability as you remain grounded in your deepest values. Wonderful things happen in a mindful conversation with anyone.
Research shows that the combination of a relaxed demeanor, gentle eye contact, a half-smile, slow speech, and a warm tone of voice builds trust and increases comprehension in the listener’s brain. Yet, even the slightest verbal or nonverbal expression of anger, irritability, or frustration can generate interpersonal conflict, releasing within a few seconds a cascade of stress neurochemicals in both the speaker’s and listener’s brain. Expressing negative emotions interrupts frontal lobe processes governing social awareness, collaboration, and executive decision-making.
Here are the 12 Strategies of Compassionate Communication, documented in Words Can Change Your Brain. The first 6 steps are carried out before engaging in an important dialogue. The second 6 steps are applied throughout the conversation. When you speak, limit yourself to one or two sentences, and speak for 20 seconds or less. Why? Because we can only consciously hold four “chunks” of information in working memory for 10-20 seconds. During the training exercises, after each person speaks, they pause, relax, and listen deeply, paying close attention to the speaker’s facial expressions and tone of voice.
- Stay Present
- Cultivate Inner Silence
- Increase Positivity
- Reflect on Your Deepest Values
- Access a Pleasant Memory
- Observe Nonverbal Cues
- Express Appreciation
- Speak Slowly
- Speak Warmly
- Speak Briefly
- Listen Deeply
1) Relax: Consciously relax your body (stretch, yawn, and breathe deeply for at least 30 seconds).
2) Stay Present — Intently focus on the present moment, being aware of your body sensations, feelings, and thoughts.
3) Cultivate Inner Silence — Take a few moments to clear your mind of distracting thoughts and feelings.
4) Increase Positivity — Envision a positive dialogue and outcome. Suspend negative thoughts, worries, and doubts.
5) Reflect on Your Deepest Values — Ask yourself these three questions: “What is my deepest personal value?” “What is my deepest relational value?” and “What is my deepest communication value as it pertains to this specific conversation?” When possible, share these values with your partner or colleague.
6) Access a Pleasant Memory — Think about someone you deeply love or an experience that brought you a deep sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Notice how this image or memory evokes a gentle half-smile and softens the muscles around your eyes and forehead. Maintain this expression throughout the conversation, coming back to it if you feel any degree of frustration, anxiety, or irritability.
DURING THE DIALOGUE
7) Observe Nonverbal Cues — Walk slowly into the meeting room and pay close attention to the nonverbal cues: facial expression, tone of voice, hand gestures, etc.
8) Express Appreciation — Open the conversation on a positive note, with a compliment or comment of appreciation.
9) Speak Slowly — Speak at about 2/3 of your normal rate. Average speech rate is 150 words/minute.
10) Speak Warmly — Research shows that when applied in healthcare situations, healing rates double.
11) Speak Briefly — Speak for 20 seconds or less, then relax and bring yourself back into the present moment.
12) Listen Deeply — Carefully observe the speaker’s facial expression, tone of voice, and body language. Listen non-defensively, without judgment, to the other person without interrupting. Avoid any negative language or facial expression, especially if you feel provoked by the other person’s words.
WHEN DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PROBLEMS AND EMOTIONAL ISSUES
1) Set up an appointment with an agreement to discuss the problem with kindness and warmth.
2) Agree to call for a time out (5 minutes to 2 days) when either person feels an increase in tension.
3) When intense conflicts break out, limit each person’s speaking to one brief sentence (about 10 seconds). This strategy often resolves problems quickly.
4) Don’t assume you know what the speaker meant; instead, ask for clarification. Research shows that each person gives a different meaning or value to nearly every spoken concept.
5) Monitor your “Positivity Ratio.” Fredrickson’s, Losada’s, and Gottman’s research found that when 5–7 positive expressions are generated for each negative comment, feeling, or thought a person has, relational satisfaction is enhanced and business productivity is increased.
6) Learn to read micro-expressions: Study Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed.
Check out Mark Waldman’s free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.
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