Micro-dosing Other People to Rewire Your Brain
Updated: Feb 6, 2020
That noise in your mind is actually a messaging system not a warning system. Use your stress to upgrade your brain.
We crave human connection, yet other people trigger most of our stress. Micro-dosing Other People is a tool that harnesses what triggers you to rewire your brain for less stress and anxiety. It helps you experience more connection and joy with the people with whom you work and live.
What Pings You
What grabs your attention about others or the world around you? This is what pings you. The thoughts that run around in your mind are messages written for you, from you. They are the noise in your system that says “pay attention, this is important to you.”
That guy who cuts you off in traffic, your partner who doesn't show up on time, the person who continually takes all the credit; these are pings that emerge from the filing system of your mind, which is wired to make meaning of the world on the fly.
We’ve been taught to use the ping as a warning system, which ends up creating a cycle of stress and protection. We distance and divide ourselves to feel safe.
Stress Is a Messenger Calling for Our Attention
We need both chaos and order for growth, but the stress of chaos is best used as a messaging system rather than a warning system. We can upgrade the pattern thinking that causes anxiety and stress by learning to use stress as a messenger, which creates clarity of direction, ease of decision-making, and resiliency in the storm.
When we pause to name what’s stressing us out, and we inject a small dose of that behavior into our own life, we can harness stress as a design tool. The brain’s negativity bias is flipped on its head when we use it to create more of what matters. And believe it or not, the best place to start is by taking on a little dose of the very people that drive us crazy.
When someone triggers us, we actually want more or less of the very behavior we’re judging. When we don’t like that selfish person, it might be because we’re not taking ourselves into consideration somewhere, or maybe we’re making time for everybody but ourselves.
Stress is our brain’s way of alerting us to what matters, which is why it’s so important to let the brain know we got the message. A short burst of stress can give us energy for the challenges in life, but a steady stream of it just makes us run down.
Micro-dosing Other People
When we tell the brain we got the message, and we pause to find a place to apply it, the stress response calms down. The Micro-dosing Other People Tool is a quick process to use when you feel anxiety, stress or the judgment of others coming on:
PING: What pings you? Pause to notice who or what is triggering your stress or judgment. What behavior does it point to that you don’t like or agree with?
TURN UP THE DOSE: Where would you feel better if you played with engaging a little more of that way of being in your own life?
TURN DOWN THE DOSE: Where can you play with pulling back a little of that behavior in your own life?
CREATE AN EXPERIMENT: Pick a situation where you can try on your micro dose. Choose a timeframe. Evaluate the impacts and determine whether to continue, alter or stop the experiment.
Upgrade your mind’s interpretation of the people and the world around you by paying attention to what pings you, investigating it, and experimenting with it in your own life. When you micro-dose other people, you lessen the stressful messages and channel that energy into building new, healthier patterns that support your collaborative relationships.