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Micro-Moments of Positivity Resonance

"Micro-moments of positivity resonance." This is how the brilliant researcher, Barbara Frederickson, defines the emotion of love. Her new book, Love 2.0, explains why and why it matters. And this one's big, folks.

She's talking about love the emotion, not love the action and not commitment or bonding or marriage, all of which we hope last a bit longer than a micro-moment. But she knows an awful lot about emotions, especially the positive ones.

Micro-moments last anywhere from a split second to a few minutes. Positivity refers to any positive emotion. Resonance means your brain and body are experiencing this emotion in sync with someone else's.

When you and someone else resonate, the same parts of your brains are lighting up. Some of your movements and facial expressions may be the same. You feel connected. You feel warmth near your heart. Your rib cage lifts, as if to make room for more heart. Oxytocin gets released. And your vagus nerve is stimulated, something very good for your heart's health and for fighting off all sorts of inflammatory diseases if it happens often enough.

While you might believe you love your spouse all the time, you don't always experience the emotion, and this matters. I had some trouble wrapping my head around this at first.

Here's what I came up with that convinced me. Think of some injustice that makes you angry. Your entire body knows the difference between the emotion of anger and your categorization of this as something that makes you angry. And you do not feel the anger all the time. Nor do you feel love all the time.

Love the emotion happens only in micro-moments. To me, this is startingly wonderful news. Wonder if you're falling out of love? Maybe you just need your vagus nerve stimulated again by taking a ride in the country together or watching a funny movie hand-in-hand. Share a joke. Share a massage that relaxes both of you. Tell the news of your day with excitement and a smile. Or try a little seduction.

It gets even better. The more you experience this best of all emotions, the more oxytocin you release. And oxytocin makes it easier to experience love. (Yep, they pretty well proved this is not just correlation but both cause and effect.)

So, if you want to experience more micro-moments with your husband or wife, you can make this easier by experiencing them with your kids, a clerk at the supermarket, anybody's baby, or your fellow fans at a football game or rock concert.

Love 2.0. Who knew?


Great post, Patty! Those micro-moments may last only second, but the aftereffects often last hours. A couple of moments of resonance here and there can make the entire day - or week - together feel great.

So true, Rosemary.

A Jolly hello to you, Patty! This is a wonderful post. Far from taking away from the emotion of love, scientific study makes it even more fascinating and amazing. The more we know about ourselves and humans in general, the better we are in all our relations. And I love your point about not feeling bad that it is not possible to have resonance every minute of a marriage and it does not mean you are falling out of love.

Nice post.. very informative! We've been in a petty argument a couple of days ago and this will really help us to work things out again! :)

Thanks, CJ! I love sharing this stuff with you.

Glad to hear it, Mai. Petty arguments have a way of snowballing into big deals.

What a wonderful post. I heard about this on the radio a while back and was so pleased to find this info online. I am a total believer in micro-moments as it is how I live my life and have been for years. I also believe it is why nurses have had such a huge impact on my life. I have experienced that connection with nurses who brought me comfort and safety when I was battling cancer. I am actually talking about this exact connection as Guest Speaker at a Nurses' Week Dinner on May 6th. Thank you again for this wonderful post.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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