The other day I went to the grocery store. (Groundbreaking, I know!). But what made this visit different from previous ones was that I helped a stranger find a protein bar.
This sounds like a rather insignificant incident, but actually, the exchange totally enhanced my day.
Here’s what happened. I was standing in an aisle looking at a wall of endless protein bar options. I looked over at a woman doing the same, smiled with my eyes (since my mask was covering up my mouth), and said “hi”. She smiled back and asked if I had any recommendations as she was pretty overwhelmed. She was trying to make the healthiest choice. Little did she know, she was asking just the right person. I’m a total health nut. I said “of course!” and showed her a few of my favorites. The exchange lasted all of a couple of minutes, but when I left the store that day I felt a lot happier than I usually do after a tedious trip to the grocery store.
So what happened here?
I employed the power of “micro moments of positivity resonance”. In her book, Love 2.0, Barbara Fredrickson introduces the idea of these micro moments of positive exchanges with others. Her research delves into the importance of these moments to our overall wellbeing. The effects of these micro moments can be seen from both a mental and physical health standpoint!
As opposed to “Love 1.0” (aka everything that our culture tells us is love like romantic comedies, Valentine’s Day hearts, weddings etc.), Love 2.0 focuses on the little moments we exchange with others. These tiny moments are much more powerful than we give them credit. Yes, finding the love of your life is incredibly powerful and important. However, micro moments that occur without a deep-rooted love can be also very powerful. Whether you’re interacting with strangers, friends, or acquaintances, these micro moments can be fostered anywhere.
As I mentioned earlier, micro moments positively affect our physical health as well. Creating “micro moments of positive resonance” improves your vagal tone. Vagal tone is the activity of your vagus nerve, a nerve which connects down from your brainstem all the way to your heart. You may have heard that your vagal tone can be improved through meditation, breathing, and nutrition. But now you know it can also be improved through love. That’s right, love literally strengthens the connection between your mind and your heart.
Pictured above: A decorative flower from a recent meal I had! Little reminders of love can be found everywhere.
HOW TO PRACTICE LOVE 2.0
1) Get out of your “cocoon of self absorption.” This cocoon is the one in which you live in alone. When you get stuck in your own head and don’t engage with others.
Tip: When you’re around others, put your cell phone away. Make yourself present and ready to enact or experience a micro moment.
2) Look for opportunities to engage. Sometimes micro moments happen by chance. But more often than not, it can be your choice to make them happen.
Tip: Use celebratory love as much as possible. Celebratory love is what Fredrickson calls “gratitude’s generous cousin.” This is the act of celebrating someone else’s success.
3) Be consistent. You can’t do this just every once in a while. Make it a daily habit. Aim for three micro moments a day. It doesn’t matter if each moment is 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes…Just stick to it.
Remember: “Love is a skill that can be practiced.”
You may have noticed that in the footer of my email, I always put “Little Habits, Big Difference.” The same goes for these micro moments of positivity resonance. “Micro Moments, Macro Results.” Grand gestures on Valentine’s Day are great. They make us happy and they celebrate the love we have. But never underestimate the power of the little moments of love.