The one consistent finding to date from all that science has discovered on improving our wellbeing is that “other people matter“. In fact, more than what we’re doing in our jobs, research suggests it’s who we’re doing it with that ultimately determines our level of engagement and wellbeing.
As someone who leans more towards the side of introversion, building relationships at work hasn’t always been my sweet spot. I can do it, but it takes a lot of effort, it often leaves me feeling worn out and I generally don’t feel like it’s me at my best.
Even for the most extroverted among us – and I’m married to one of them – building good relationships with people can be hard work. Especially when the only reason we might have ever been thrown together … is our jobs.
So is there any easier way to authentically connect with people at the office?
Could A Micro-Moment Improve Your Relationships?
Professor Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina and her colleagues have discovered that it takes just a micro-moment of genuine connection to spark an upward spiral of mutual care between people.
The research suggests all it takes are three simple steps:
- the sharing of a positive emotion like interest, joy, amusement or pride for example;
- a synchronization of your biochemistry and behaviors through shared eye contact, body gestures or vocal tone that literally causes your two brains to start dancing as one and;
- a reflected motive to invest in each other’s wellbeing that brings mutual care.
Barb describes this process of connection between people as “positivity resonance”.
She suggests we think of it like a mirror. You and the other person mirror the positivity in each other’s emotional state; you mirror each other’s body and brain activity; and you mirror each other’s impulse to care for one another. In this moment to some extent you each become the reflection and extension of the other. Truly making two heads better than one.
Not only this but when we experience warm and trusting feelings towards each other it improves our vagal tone – which is the very subtle arrhythmia that occurs with each breath we take – to calm down our naturally high human heart rates helping us to regulate glucose and cardiovascular health, to regulate our attention and emotions at work and have better social skills.
In this episode of Chelle McQuaid TV, I’ll show you how you can create more micro-moments of authentic connection at the office.
How To Create More Micro-moments In Your Relationships
You’ll quickly find opportunities for micro-moments of connection abound in your day.
Each time you interact with someone else take a moment to truly make eye contact with them or if you’re on the phone synchronize your tone of voice to theirs.
You might want to ask them: “What’s going well today?” Or “What’s been the highlight of your week?” Or even: “What are looking forward to this month?” This is an easy way to spark off their positive emotions as they savor the good things happening to them. Of course other effective ways you can create shared positive emotions is to perform an act of kindness, express your appreciation or give them a reason to laugh.
Just try to make eye contact as you do it. Then as feelings of positivity resonates between you let that feeling of mutual care rise up knowing that you’ve made a genuine connection with the person.
You might also like to try spending 15 minutes a day practicing loving kindness meditation as Barb’s research has found this works wonders on our vagal tone. You can download a free guided meditation from Barb here.
What can you do to create more micro-moments of connection in your day?