This post was written for my beloved coworking community, Tribe Porty in Portobello, Edinburgh in Scotland.
Why is it that co-working at Tribe is so very pleasant?
It’s because we’re all a bit in love with each other…
I’m not talking about secret trysts and unrequited infatuation; it’s what psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson calls ‘positivity resonance’. AKA, love.
Every time we fully engage with people, whenever we feel we’ve clicked with someone, and all those moments we share a feeling of mutual connection, it’s love, says Fredrickson.
Seen in this way, love isn’t some rare, lofty state, enjoyed only when all the stars align and feelings are intense between two (or a select number of) people.
Instead, love is experienced in the micro-moments of real-time connection we can get all around us. In other words, when we resonate with people in person, anytime, anywhere, we get a dose of love.
It happens when you smile at the driver giving way and they smile back. It’s when you stop for a chat about your dogs with a stranger on the beach. It’s when you’re actually present with the people you spend time with (rather than checking your phone or worrying about your to-do list).
At Tribe Porty, love abounds when someone offers you a cup of tea, you share a joke across the hotdesk, or you grab a bite with whoever’s in reception!
The thought of this might be making you feel warm and fuzzy, but what’ll blow your socks off is the impact positivity resonance has on our brains and long-term health and wellbeing!
Each of those momentary experiences of connection deepen the bond and commitment between people because we become biosynchronous; that is, our neuronal emotional responses literally mimic each other. We genuinely feel with the other person, because our neurons fire and neurotransmitters release in synchrony with them.
Isn’t that lovely?
What’s more, micro-moments of connection optimise the functioning of the vagus nerve, the link between brain and heart. Doing so steadies heart rate, regulates blood sugar and improves immune response, which are vitally important for the body’s health.
High vagal tones also help us maintain attention and deal with emotions, which together improve our social skills. And since being socially adept means more opportunities for positivity resonance, a virtuous cycle is born!
Next time you’re reaching for a left-over Nairn’s oat cake and your hand brushes a fellow Triber’s so that you both have a giggle, go ahead. Tell them you love them. They’ll get it.
Check out Fredrickson’s article in the NY Times
Take her six-week course in Positive Psychology free on Coursera
Read her book, Love 2.0
Lorna Lythgoe on www.growthseekers.co.uk