Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Director of the Social Psychology Doctoral Program and the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, President-Elect, International Positive Psychology Association Kenan-Flagler School of Business
So take a moment and think about,
what happens when someone like bounds into the room so clearly feeling joyful?
I mean, how does that effect you?
>> You can really sense, I think, people's emotions very quickly,
and particularly if you're going into, maybe, a meeting with someone, and
they are feeling, you can sense that they're kind of in a, in a good mood.
>> Kind of the flow, of just the interaction, is a lot less restrained.
I think your it's just, I, I always find it easier when I know someone's in
a good mood to just have this kind of, you know,
more creativity, like the positivity broadening our kind of cognition.
I, I definitely sense that, and
I think it becomes more apparent when you think about when you interact with
someone, you can tell when they're in not such a good mood, that it kind of, like.
You know it's hard not to notice that.
>> Right. >> And you catch yourself kind of-
>> Right, right.
So I mean there's a way in which our emotions are so contagious that, you know,
one person comes in feeling one way and then through mimicry or
through ways in which you're trying to
figure out what that person's feeling you kind of internalize it a bit.
That, that same emotion comes to live in you too.
And so there's ways in which, how we,
what, whatever emotions we cultivate in ourselves or practice are what we're,
kind of putting out and inviting other people to feel, as well.
in, in the same way that emotions kind of belong to everybody that's in the room.
You know, there's research to
show that leaders' emotions are especially contagious.
I mean everybody's emotions are contagious but
leaders are the ones that have the podium and so their expressions and
their gestures really get out there a lot more and
affect the whole tone of a team or the whole tone of an organization.
So there's definitely ways to, to, we tend
to think of our emotional experiences as these private individual happenings but
they're, they're very much about how we relate.
So, I don't know if you have any examples of that or ways you'd like to chime in.
>> Yeah, well I'm really into dancing and
I have this one particular dance community and it's just amazing,
and a lot of times I'll come in late when everybody is already dancing.
And just as soon as I walk in and see everyone just having so
much fun and just really doing their thing it's like totally heart opening and,
I just have this huge smile and just feel so much joy immediately upon walking in.
No matter how I was feeling just a minute before.
>> Yeah. Yeah. >> It's really amazing.
>> Yeah, so now you can have a sense of what is it that just happened when you
walked into the room.
You know, people would call it, oh, it's magic.
>> Yeah. >> It's not magic,
it's like this emotional communication that's going on.
Yeah great example, great example.
You know with all of all the things that we've
learned about positivity resonance or that I've learned about positivity resonance,
I've really it's made me change my, you know,
rituals in my day to try to figure out how to get more, more of it in my day.
And yet, for example, I use to stay in con,
in contact with my sister, you know, by email and text or whatever.
And now, we just decide to she lives in another state,
so we walk and talk once a week.
You know, get together every Thursday morning and
I walked through the woods talking to my sister.
And it's kind of like we're, we're there.
So we, given that she's you know, that many miles away,
the phone is the best way for us to have that real time sensory connection where we
can really, you know, share each other's experience.
Another ritual that I've really proud of is that instead of faculty meetings,
my colleagues and I get together and play cards once a week.
And we fit in the business around the card game.
But we just kind of make sure that we have this regular fun thing to do
that keeps us laughing and got a little competitive spirit or whatever.
But just, it sure beats a faculty meeting once a week.
I mean, so one of the things that as we, you know, wind down this course,
that I wanted to share with you guys is that, you know, within emotions science,
there's this, the equivalent of the scholarly earthquake going on.
That gets back to that question that we started this whole course with,
with what is an emotion.
And you know so often when, when scientists have answered that question,
what is an emotion, they've you know focused on things like anger, fear and
joy, and that.
These are coordinated responses that,
you know, presumably are all orchestrated by some, you know
program in the brain that says joy here, anger here, fear here.
And the hidden assumption in that view is that the specificity of our emotions,
the fact that we feel anger in this situation, joy in this one,
gratitude in another is somehow given to us by our
basic biological design of our bodies and brains.
But there's a, there's a new challenge within emotion science to that view,
that says that you know, actually what's seems to
be a biological core is just the sense of pleasantness or unpleasantness.
And also a sense of high energy versus low energy.
And that what makes an emotion specifically either anger or
fear within the negatives or gratitude or
joy within the positives is really how we knit that experience of pleasantness.
So the circumstances and what it means to us.
So that there's a way in which we're constructing emotions based on
the, the specificity of the emotions.
Based on our, our cultural beliefs and our, our knowledge about emotions.
And I actually think this is a really exciting opportunity to be thinking about.
Thinking about love in a different way, as I've tried to encourage you to do here,
actually changes your emotional capacity in that sense.
So in a way it kind of, I'm hoping that it'll give you like a new set of
lenses kind of like night vision goggles.
That allow you to see where previously you
didn't see this experience of micro-moments of positive connections.
But just learning about this helps you see it where you didn't
see it before because so much of what we perceive and experience in
the world is shaped by our expectations and what we think is possible.
And for instance I just want to take a moment to see if,
did you notice anything unusual in this picture?
You see anything out of the ordinary there?
>> The reflection, the cards.
well, that's maybe out of the ordinary.
Looking at the cards a little closer, do you notice anything?
>> Full house?
The ten, the ten is black and it's >> The diamonds are black.
Yes, isn't that interesting?
You can look at it for that long and realize that.
Even if you know playing car, well you have to know playing cards.
>> I don't know.
>> Yeah. >> You know, that, that diamonds are red.
And I got this image from Scott Klaus who created it for
his social psychology Coursera course which was just wildly popular.
But it's a great example of about how our expectations feed into what we see.
And you know, okay, if you don't, if you don't having experience with
playing cards you might not see it in the same way.
But a lot of people do.
But it, there's you know if you just expect it to be the regular system,
it takes a long time to see that something unusual was in place there.
Like the diamonds are black instead of red.
And so, what I think is going, potentially happening by thinking of love or
the core of love at least, as these micro-moments of positive connection.
It's like opening up a new possibility for experience and you know?
I want to be clear that I think that you know, for
millennia humans have experiences these micro-moments of positive connection,
whether they, you know, subscribe to that view or not.
But I think subscribing to the view that there's something really consequential
in those micro-moments of connection, both for individual health and for another's.
Oh, we didn't talk about this with health behaviors, but
these micro-moments of connection, they're not just about our own health,
this is like giving health to others at the same time.
So, it's not like this selfish way of, what can I do to be healthier,
it's like how can I, how can I radiate health to others so
that the consequences of this are, are not just for the self.
They're for others and community as well.
That I, I think for millennia
humans have recognized these connections as special and important.
And, then created rituals, and words, and even whole religions
around trying to honor them, and cultivate, and cultivate them.
And, and, so I think that a scientific perspective helps
us drill in and see, oh exactly, oh okay, this is why these
particular moments seem to be especially energizing and life giving.
They are, they are literally making the body healthier,
they are literally making our bonds with others stronger.
You know literally creating safer communities, and
so there are really important aspects.
So what I what I think is possible if you have this,
your eye tuned to the importance of these moments is that it can
make more of those kind of moments come alive, rather than skipping past them.
Can you come up with any examples of of times that a person might overlook
opportunities to connect whereas, with this kind of perspective,
they might kind of come at it differently?
>> I came, I mean it can just happen anytime.
I've noticed so much in my own life just bringing
in that awareness that we can tend to not really be present for
these potential moments of joy or connection or whatever it is.
And just noticing when I might be holding back a little bit or
not being totally present, just in any interaction with somebody.
And just really if I'm interacting with somebody who I really love or
something great is going on, just consciously being present and
leaning into that and feeling it as much as I can it makes a huge difference.
>> Right, right, so that just that attitude of openness and
leaning in can help it to grow versus just sort of,
you know, thinking of it as ho-hum or routine or.
>> And that sort of thing.
>> I had a student in class yesterday a teacher came in and
talked to one of the classes that I teach-
>> Mm-hm. >> Called Helping Youth Thrive, and
she was just talking about how difficult it is to be a teacher,
and we went through evaluation systems and all these other things, but.
She paused and said, you know but yesterday this second grader was
walking around the hallway in cowboy boots way to big for her,
she goes, that's all it took for me to do it.
>> Yeah. >> And she just said that one moment of,
kind of, just pure joy of watching that kid made teaching worthwhile.
>> Yeah, yeah. >> So it's cool to hear.
>> Yeah. So the things that are kind of
outside of the job description, but really keep us going.
>> Sure. >> Yeah, great example.
>> I was thinking from the academic perspective, the pedagogy and
how we design our classrooms.
>> Mm. >> Being intentional around making sure
that we have opportunities to express the positive emotions and,
and whether it's the way we teach, whether or not we empower someone.
>> Mm-hm. >> The acknowledgement,
staying in a place of gratitude, all of that within the classroom.
Especially at the college level, it's needed.
>> Yeah, what I've taken to doing whenever I can, when the class is small enough and
the furniture is mobile.
Make a circle.
>> Yeah. >> You know,
it's just, it doesn't, circles don't just have to be for elementary school.
You know, we can actually respond to each other,
build off each others ideas a lot more when we can see each other.
>> The intentional, that group work.
>> Yeah, yeah.
>> Yeah. >> And break, you know,
break it into smaller groups and and going with that.
>> I was going to say, sometimes when I start class,
before we start the lecture or the exercise I just stop and pause.
And I say, tell me something good that happened the day before.
>> Yeah. >> And they be like, wha.
And then they start getting into it and it just changes the, the whole class.
>> Yeah. It reminds me of our ritual for
our lab meetings with, which Bret knows.
I realized, you know.
I work with a large team of, you know, post-docs and grad students and
staff and, you know, often I don't see them every day.
So we come together once a week and we just have a quick ritual of expressing
like something that we're a appreciative of either in the past or
looking forward to or, you know just, it, it really warms up the room quickly.
And, and sort of allows us to kind of holistically come to work together,
rather than just focused on the facts of this paper or
that pieces of the science or something, so.
It doesn't take that much time.
>> Yeah, yeah it's
those simple quick things.
It's not too difficult just to swing in someone's office on your way to
your own office and smile and say hi.
And it's just these quick things that I think are our appreciation ritual.
I mean, it doesn't take too much time, and it makes, it makes a big impact on my day.
You know, when I, I, there's an analogy that I like to use that it's kind
of like the potential for these experiences of connection and
positivity resonance are there all over the place.
It's like they're abundant.
It's kind of like there's a field that's been
pre-planted with all these tulip bulbs.
But, you know, our, our old school way of thinking about love as romance,
once in a lifetime kind of thing is kind of like we pour a thick layer of
cement over that field of, of bulbs.
And, you know, it's still possible for
one to kind of push through and, and break out and bloom but it's not so easy.
And so this this new view of love kind of clears away that cement and
lets those things which are going to naturally occur between people occur.
Kind of letting a thousand flowers bloom instead of kind of suppressing them and
holding them back.
So, I'm hoping that analogy kind of fits here and I know I've mixed my metaphors
quite a bit, over the course of this class but thank you very much.
This has been so great.
I appreciate your involvement and your ideas and
I so appreciate you joining us for this introductory tour of positive psychology.
My aim has to been to offer you key insights and
strategies that you can take away and put into action to steer yourself and
those around you towards greater well being even when times get tough.
As I've mentioned at the start, you are now part of something much larger.
The positive psychology movement and the ripple effects of
this movement extend far and wide and are literally changing this world.
I invite you to stay connected to keep this movement spiraling upward and onward.
There are three easy ways to do that.
First, join the International Positive Psychology Association, or
IPPA as we call it.
I've recently been elected to serve as President of this
tremendously diverse organization, which has members from
more than 70 countries representing a wide spectrum of professions and backgrounds.
Indeed, IPPA actively encourages interested people of all backgrounds to
join the association, and offers greatly reduced membership fees for
students and affiliates.
As an IPPA member, you can access IPPA's extensive learning library of videos and
receive discounted registration to the World Congress on Positive Psychology.
Please visit ippanetwork.org to learn more.
A second organization that you'll want to know about is,
the Greater Good Science Center, at the University of California, at Berkeley.
Greater Good supports the advancement and
dissemination of the science of a meaningful life.
You can become a member to support them in their mission, or
simply access the wide variety of their free offerings,
which includes their online magazine, newsletters, videos, and podcasts.
Knowing that you might especially appreciate free online courses.
You should check out their immensely popular course on
the science of happiness.
To learn more, please visit greatergood.berkeley.edu.
Third, if you wish to stay connected to me and my pep lab directly please connect
with me on LinkedIn or sign up to be on the mailing list at positiveemotions.org.
Regardless of how you stay plugged into positive psychology, as I sign off for
this course for the last time,
I want to remind you that positive psychology lives on inside of you.
Indeed it's your birthright to rev those tiny engines of positive psychology and
positive emotions within any moment to nourish wellbeing, connection,
and health for yourself and for others.
So thank you.
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