Investigators gradually increased the temperature under the rodents' paws until they moved away. That was each rat's pain threshold, and they made note of it. Next, they ran the experiment with two rats side by side and saw that when both rats were exposed to the heat, it could lower the pain threshold of the companion rat next to it, some of the time. When the neighboring rat was a stranger, there was no effect. But if the pair were cage mates together, there was an empathic increase in tolerance for pain. This holds up in human experience, too. If you hold someone's hand during a medical procedure, you'll feel less stress and recover more easily, especially if that hand belongs to a relative or friend. It's scientifically proven, as I'll discuss later. One way to practice self-compassion is by treating yourself as you would a good friend. Neff suggests using self-talk that includes words like honey and dear and using physical touch such as giving yourself hugs. Identify situations and people both online and off that trigger feelings of shame. There may be people in our lives that we notice reinforce or trigger our feelings of shame. When this happens, it could be a warning sign of a dysfunctional relationship. Give yourself permission to reduce or eliminate the time spent with those who make you feel ashamed. Remember, the hallmarks of healthy relationships are love, respect, and compassion. Don't heap on unnecessary layers of shame. We all experience feelings of shame; But avoid heaping more hurt and shame onto yourself by being harsh and self-critical about your feelings in the first place. Do they apply to you personally, not just the average person? And if so, do you possess the knowledge to interpret the data and apply it to your training?

Ten Thousand Steps and the New RDAs of Fitness In 1927, Lawrence Henderson, David Dill, John Talbott, and Arlie Bock decided they needed to study the limits of the human body in more depth, and so they founded the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory (HFL). This is arguably the birthplace of the modern study of physiology, but while sports performance is one of the biggest focuses of equivalent modern labs, Henderson and company were more concerned with the impact of bodily limitations on output and recovery in industry and combat. Rather than trying to find the minimum effective dose of activity, nutrition, temperature stimulation, and so on, the scientists at the HFL wanted their test subjects to go to extremes to see what was possible and how far you could push body and mind before one or both broke. If the HFL were still around, there's no way its overseers would get away with replicating those studies from the mid-1900s, because they'd be condemned as dangerous. The scientists' hot room regularly subjected study participants to temperatures up to 115 degrees while the cold chamber chilled them to -40 degrees. To make sure their conclusions weren't just theoretical, the HFL team replicated them in nature. They took subjects to Newfoundland to see how long they could endure being immersed in snow, so they could give the US military guidelines on winter clothing, and led them up peaks in New Hampshire's White Mountains to see what amount of insulation was needed for army boots. SHORING YOURSELF UP Now let's look at some ways you can shore up your own resilience in the face of pain and negative narratives. FINDING YOUR OUTLETS Outlets can release the tension (especially if it's a physical outlet), distract you, and help connect your mind and body while reminding you of what's important. All sorts of outlets work: various hobbies, working off the tension by pummeling a punching bag, screaming after a difficult meeting, dancing to your favorite music, talking with friends. Find what works for you. My favored childhood outlet was telling my problems to Tiggy, my trusted (stuffed) confidante. This (one-way) conversation helped me put language to my thoughts and feelings and better make sense of them. Whacking a tennis ball also gave me a satisfying way to release some of the energy behind these emotions. USING HUMOR When we accept our feelings, we stop fighting against them, giving ourselves the emotional space to begin the work of understanding and addressing the underlying causes of our shame. Common Humanity versus Isolation

The second healing component of self-compassion is common humanity. When practicing self-compassion, feelings of common humanity and belongingness automatically occur within us. We reduce feelings of separation and isolation and, in turn, depression and a host of other emotional disorders when we learn to see our interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing bad things and bad experiences as only happening to us. Even experiencing life's celebrations and good times with feelings of separateness and disconnection from humanity can also bring about feelings of isolation and disconnection. Hence the phrase, It's lonely at the top. As we've seen, studies of social media seemingly conflict: some suggest that social media--from Facearticle to Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat--has made us more connected, while others suggest we are more lonely and more narcissistic than ever before. It's more likely that the truth is somewhere in the middle. That is, social media at times has made people feel both more connected and more lonely. They also came up with new formulas for survival rations by depriving people of food for days or feeding them only pemmican, a high-fat and protein-rich dried subsistence food used by the Inuit during long expeditions (like the elven lembas bread the hobbits used in The Lord of the Rings, if it was a mixture of powdered dried meat and animal fat). Out of the HFL's studies in the extreme came recommendations for everyday life. The most famous of these is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of micronutrients, still found on food and supplement labels today. These numbers were set at the minimum intake needed to prevent disease. So the vitamin C baseline of sixty milligrams per day is the least you should consume to stop yourself from getting scurvy. In the past few years, the fitness industry has come up with something similar for movement: activity-based RDAs that aim to get us back up to the basal metabolic rates that we used to have back when we had more physically challenging jobs and lifestyles. Chief among these are the prescriptions for ten thousand steps a day and thirty minutes of daily exercise, which have, through years of repetition, become pervasive, readily accepted, and rarely questioned. When it comes to nutrient RDAs, very few people obsessively read labels and add together foods to total 100 percent of the recommended amounts of vitamins C and A, iron, or the rest. Instead, we know that we need these micronutrients and so try to eat a balanced, healthy diet. A similar mind-set should apply to activity-focused RDAs. As traumatic as it was then and for years after, I've managed to blunt the harshness of my modeling school experience by telling it as a funny story. I am far enough from that shamed and wounded kid now to see the humor in it.

I enjoy it when others can chuckle with me, too. If I tell it right, it gets great laughs! This is more than a few yuks--it's a tool for getting through and past intolerable situations. Humor reminds me that my community can identify with me and laugh with me at the world's wrongness. When I'm in difficult situations, I can sometimes get through them by thinking, This will make for a great story. I collect these accounts to bring back to my community, so they can tend to my wounds and break the oppressive spell with laughter and understanding. EMBRACING IMPERMANENCE When things are tough, it helps to remember that this too shall pass. As for feelings of loneliness, lonely people are in fact more prone to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. A few studies investigating social media suggest that Facearticle users had slightly lower levels of social loneliness--the sense of not feeling bonded with friends--but significantly higher levels of family loneliness--the sense of not feeling bonded with family. These researchers also find that lonely people are inclined to spend more time on Facearticle per day as opposed to nonlonely individuals. Defensive reactions aren't likely to produce warm and fuzzy emotional interactions, making us feel connected. Rather, they are quite the opposite: most defensive reactions wall us off psychologically, leaving us to feel more alone, separate, and cutoff. Breaking Down Walls, Letting Go, and Moving On as a By-Product of Self-Compassion Letting go is hard. Whether you've missed a deadline at work, made a hurtful comment to a friend or family member online or offline, or been unfaithful in your relationship, constantly berating yourself and spending sleepless nights reliving the experience doesn't help you learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, or move on. Social media can also provoke feelings that are hard to let go of, because they trigger deeper emotions. In our 24-7 world of constant tweets, Instagram posts, Facearticle likes, and YouTube stars telling us how to look, feel, act, and be, it's harder and harder to not compare ourselves to others in digital spaces and to fight off unwarranted feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, or lacking. While some might find the ten-thousand-steps and thirty-minutes rules helpful at first, they should aim to replace these rudimentary guidelines with a lifestyle that includes plenty of untracked daily activity. Anything prescribed as a society-wide guideline is conceived to influence a majority of people positively, using bare minimums.

This can be very useful on a policy level, but such recommendations should not be misinterpreted as a blueprint for performance progress or excellence. Instead, they're just a baseline requirement for the average person. And you don't want to settle for average, do you? Furthermore, if you're going to use wearable technology to measure something, it shouldn't be the number of steps you take (once you have a rough sense of what level of movement such a total requires). Accumulating ten thousand steps a day might help sedentary people lose weight initially, if combined with a better diet and other kinds of physical exertion, but such early progress will quickly level off and they'll need more resistance training and intense interval work to overcome stagnation. One of the most misleading and yet longest-standing health myths is that the fastest pulse your heart is capable of reaching is found by a simple equation: 220 minus your age. This calculation has its roots in the work of Indiana University exercise physiologist and former Olympic runner Sid Robinson in the 1930s. The problem is that the numbers collected in these studies were almost all based on observational studies rather than actual heart rate testing of various age groups and the statistics that such scientific work would've provided. This is a catchphrase I often repeat, even for small things. When you see that it's true for passing annoyances--realizing that all it takes is one good night to get over feeling exhausted and depleted from sleep loss--you help scaffold an orientation toward acceptance of impermanency. If we believe in permanency, how can we see a way out of pain? The more we acknowledge impermanence--and treasure it--the more we can accept the flow of emotion and avoid getting stuck in our pain, including the pain that comes from clinging to happiness. HANDLING REJECTION Rejection is never easy. It's going to happen. It's going to hurt. And you can learn skills that will lessen the pain and will help you recover from it and move on with confidence. You know that classically cliche rejection It's not you, it's me. But it's not all bad news! The mere act of acknowledging our feelings like envy, anger, frustration, and sadness with an attitude of self-