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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Ready to Turn Traditional Love Around?

Savoring Connection: How to cultivate daily happiness By Jennifer “Taz” Vazquez

Love is connection. … Love blossoms virtually any time two or more people—even strangers—connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong.- Barbara L. Fredrickson On a recent beautiful Puget Sound evening, I savored the flavors of my dinner, enjoyed the connection and conversation with a friend, and watched the sailboats on the water from the patio of my favorite restaurant. It was truly a sobremesa moment. A Spanish phrase, upon the table, it describes the experience of lingering after a good meal, enjoying connection and conversation with others.

However, by the end of the next day, I felt a bit overwhelmed and disconnected. As I decompressed on the couch and scrolled through social media, I thought about all the things I "should" be doing and felt a little self-critical and isolated. Can you relate? It's easy to get distracted, overwhelmed, overstimulated by social media and news, compare ourselves to others, buy into unvoiced expectations of what we "should" be doing, and get caught up in the mundane day-to-day. Unfortunately, we then miss opportunities to be present, connect, and have meaningful interactions.

It got me thinking: Can we experience a dose of sobremesa on a daily basis? Research shows we can. The sobremesa’s positive emotions and energized attunement we experience from connection and conversation are our mind and body’s way of love! Psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson, calls it positivity resonance, those micro-moments of warmth and connection we share with another living being.

Micro-moments of positivity resonance can have a huge positive impact on our health and well-being in three key ways:

Physical and mental health.

Boosts our immune system, reduces stress, regulates our nervous system, thoughts and emotions, and even our body’s physical processes. Increases resilience by helping us handle negative experiences through mindfulness and reframing.

Creativity and productivity.

When feeling positive, we're more likely to be open to new ideas and experiences, creating upward spirals of learning and growing, and an overall sense of flourishing.

Strengthen relationships.

Sharing positive emotions with others creates a sense of connection and belonging, helping us feel more supported and loved.

As with all emotions, these positive micro-moments wane over time, so we need to keep practicing them with family, friends, and in our daily interactions with strangers. If you want more sobremesa in your daily life, then challenge yourself to connect, daily, with others, and experience the happiness micro-moments of positivity resonance brings. Be intentional about seeking out these moments—and savor them when you do. When you are mindful, present, and reflect on what you enjoyed, you’ll be surprised at how happier you feel.

Happy connecting, y’all.

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