Love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store.But perhaps even more promisingly, scientists are learning that certain simple meditations can overwhelmingly improve our ability to positively and lovingly connect with everyone in our lives: partners, friends, children, and colleagues:
In a 2010 study from her lab, Fredrickson randomly assigned half of her participants to a “love” condition and half to a control condition. In the love condition, participants devoted about one hour of their weeks for several months to the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation. Fredrickson and her team found that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, people could significantly increase their vagal tone by self-generating love through loving-kindness meditation. Since vagal tone mediates social connections and bonds, people whose vagal tones increased were suddenly capable of experiencing more micro-moments of love in their days.Perhaps denting the future is, at least in part, about cultivating loving relationships, and practicing more compassion and loving-kindness in our work environments. Indeed, such a practice may help us to attract, motivate and retain the most talented people while improving our own health and well-being as leaders. For more on these exciting findings, read this fascinating article in The Atlantic.