WOW Word-Of-the-Week #438: Tolerance

December 26, 2012 by  

Tolerance – willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others.

Would you say you are a fairly tolerant person? How accepting are you of other people’s beliefs? Have you ever challenged any of your long held beliefs?

This is the final WOW on Heidi Stevens’ article from the Chicago Tribune titled, “TAMING STRESS” featuring Thea Singer’s “5 things you can do so you will be less reactive to a stressor when one hits. It’s really important to be proactive.”

  • Break a sweat: Exercise is a good stressor and it trains your brain to relax.
  • Offline friending: Call a pal. Join a book club. Volunteer.
  •  Skip Ben & Jerry’s: Do something that you enjoy: Take a mindful walk, read a book, jump rope.
  • Meditate: We’ve seen a lot of research that shows people who meditate can begin to change not just the physiology of the brain, but the structure of the brain. The brain waves are very different in someone who meditates than in someone who doesn’t. That’s because meditation (also known as mindfulness-based stress reduction) actually creates new neural pathways between the brain’s right and left hemispheres which offers coherence between our brains’s analytical, time-conscious, logical left side and the intuitive, accepting, creative right side. A Psychiatry Research study concludes that participation in mindfulness-based stress reduction is associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing and perspective taking.
  • Show compassion: Acceptance of others is particularly helpful in warding off stress. The goal is to alter your perceptions of situations outside of yourself. It’s not about wearing rose-colored glasses, but finding ways to counter negativity. Notice something good that happened to you today and tell someone about it. Do something nice for another person.

Singer ends by saying, “People say, ‘Oh, his is so touchy-feely,’ but there is scientific evidence to back it up. I’m as skeptical as the next guy. But when you look at the science behind it, it’s really inspiring.”

This week’s focus is on being tolerant and respecting others beliefs. Does meditation sound like something you would be willing to try? When was the last time you did something nice for someone? Have you ever done a “random act of kindness” to a complete stranger? How did it make you feel?