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Positive resonance! When talking to other professors or writing academic papers, Barbara Fredrickson uses the words “positive resonance” to describe small moments of emotional connection with another person, but, as she recently confided to Ten Percent Happier's Dan Harris, what she really means is love. Fredrickson wants everyone to embrace the Louis Armstrong definition of love: I see friends shaking hands, saying, ‘How do you do?’ They’re really saying I love you... From the song What a Wonderful World (lyrics by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss) In her TED Talk “Remaking Love,” Fredrickson describes how, by expanding the concept of love, you can make love all day long without getting tired, or fired. Love, liberated from Cupid's whims, becomes laughing with a friend, hugging a neighbor, or simply greeting someone with warmth. The poet W. H. Auden wrote, “We must love one another or die,” and science backs him up. The quality of your interpersonal connections in day-to-day life is one of the strongest predictors of how long, healthily, and happily you’ll live,so it’s worth the effort to upgrade love to include the types of connection that you can have with anybody. Think about love as any shared positive emotion. When you make a positive connection with another person, science tells us that your brains and bodies begin to act in unison. Your heart rate synchronizes, your biochemistry comes into sync, and even your neurological firings mirror the person with whom you connect. And, not only do you get into rhythm with another person, but the positive emotions set off what Fredrickson calls a “broaden and build” spiral. The more positivity you invite into your life by seeking out moments of positive resonance, the more you will think “we” versus “me,” the more your awareness will broaden and your creativity increase, and the more resilient you will become. My sister is a maestro of moments of interpersonal positivity. Strolling down Toronto's Yonge Street with her is like doing a walkabout with the mayor. She greets acquaintances with the warmth of a close friend, and seems to instinctively know how to establish instant rapport. You may find that your social skills are rusty from the isolation of the pandemic, but with practice, we all can hone our ability to connect. Having a cute little rescue dog as a conversation opener also helps...

Dannah and Cowboy her cute conversation starter Studies have shown that we underestimate: a) how well we come across to others, and b) how good interactions with strangers will feel. Researchers Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder of the University of Chicago instructed commuters on trains and buses to connect with a stranger near them, remain disconnected, or commute as normal. Participants reported a more positive experience when they connected, yet predicted a more positive experience in solitude. Another experiment found that people consistently underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company, a phenomenon researchers call the liking gap. When it comes to connecting with strangers we don’t know what’s good for us, and yet it’s one of the easiest ways to add positivity to your day. According to Barbara Fredrickson, because the negative experiences in life scream while the positive experiences whisper, you need a daily ratio of positive to negative of 3, 4 or even 5 to 1 to flourish. Too often we think that taking the time to connect with others will take time away from productive tasks. Prioritize how you will feel when you reach out to another person over what you will accomplish if instead you rush to the next item on your to-do list. Micro-moments of connection will help keep you strong and healthy and, ultimately, will create more capacity to achieve. Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame. From: September 1, 1939, W. H. Auden

Maybe it's just me, but every time I watch this video of grandmotherly positive resonance after over a year of separation I start to cry! Links that positively resonate:

  • Stop Spending Time on Things You Hate The Atlantic

  • I’m not languishing, I’m dormant Austin Kleon

  • How to Build Exceptional Relationships and Why You Should with David Bradford and Carole Robin Feel Better Live More

  • The Science of Building Better Relationships with Yale's Marissa King Ten Percent Happier Podcast

  • ‘This Is The Best Time To Do Anything: 6 Powerful Secrets From Research Eric Barker

Wishing you a day of positive resonance, Lynne

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