Social Media as a Spiritual Discipline – Physiology

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There is one more thing I want to discuss before I get into what one can do to have a more productive and loving online conversation. One of the biggest things that is working against our success in our innate physiology. Have you ever been insulted online? If so how did you feel when it happened? Were you mad? Anxious? Defensive?

What did that actually feel like? What I mean by that is if you recorded what the sensations your body was giving off in a moment like that what would you write down?

It would probably include things like:

  • Blood pressure rise
  • Heart rate increase
  • Breathing rate increase
  • Yawning – a sign of the above hyperventilation
  • Tightening muscles

These are symptoms of stress and anxiety as well as the fight or flight response. At this moment you are in the worst possible position to give a rational, well-reasoned much less compassionate or empathetic reply. People in fight or flight mood don’t make good listeners because you are either about to be defensive or aggressive. Everything in your brain that would normally help you have a good conversation shuts down.

It is important that we recognize these physiological responses so that we can know not to jump into the fray but instead do a few things that will help reset our system to be ready to converse. The very things we need to do are the opposite of what comes “naturally” to us. More on what to do next!

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