WOW Word-Of-the-Week #464: Associate

June 27, 2013 by  

Associate connected, joined, or related as a companion or colleague.

Would you spend your leisure time with any of your colleagues from work? If so, would you say that they are usually happy and positive? How about your friends and family?

This week is a follow up to last week regarding the Bradley J. Fikes article in the San Diego UT titled, “COACH: HAPPINESS BREEDS SUCCESS, NOT VICE VERSA
Speaker tells biotech convention key is changing perception of life.”

What really interested me was Eric Karpinski’s explanation on how you change your perception. He says his ideas aren’t original as there’s years of study into the field known as neuroplasticity. I’ve never even seen this word before. Have you? He says, “Not only can happiness be learned, but by treating people kindly, happiness can actually be spread. Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

This not only applies to the brain, but in groups. Visible changes in mood among one person are contagious in social settings, such as in an office environment. If one person is angry or upset, the mood sours among the rest. These changes are communicated by mirror neurons, which capture the perceived emotions of others. Mirror neurons are something we can tap into to take advantage of our happiness.


If a room contains happy and unhappy people, those most expressive of emotions will have the most influence. Mirror neurons will most strongly pick up their emotions. So happy people shouldn’t hide it. If we actually share the good things, share what we’re grateful for, and start conversations that way….then we create the opportunity.

 Over a longer term, practicing an appreciation for what’s good can rewire the brain to a more optimistic outlook. Research proves that just as harmful events and stress can cause anti-social changes in the brain, a positive environment can rewire the brain to promote pro-social behavior and well-being. And a 2008 study in the British Medical Journal found that happiness tends to cluster in social networks. In other words, happy people associate with other happy people.

My mother told me from the time I can remember how lucky I was. And I believed her! To this day I remind myself of how lucky I am. How lucky are you? My sister Lurene says, “Being happy or grumpy is a habit.” What’s your habit?

This week’s focus is on how you associate.  Do you have any social networks? What you are grateful for? When was the last time you shared it? What are your mirror neurons reflecting?