Love 2.0 or Love, Upgraded
Podcast #17 — Aired February 13, 2014

Love isn’t what you think it is. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk about research that offers a new definition for love and how you can create more of it in your life. Our guest this week is the best-selling author of Love 2.0, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson shares ways we can deepen all the relationships in our lives, including the one we share with our Valentine. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.
Author, Love 2.0
Author, Positivity

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D. has been advancing the science of positive emotions for more than 20 years. She is currently Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she directs the PEP Lab. Her books, Positivity and Love 2.0 have been translated into more than 20 languages. Barb’s award-winning research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, reveals how your positive emotions were sculpted by the discerning chisel of Darwinian natural selection to serve as life-giving nutrients for growth. Barb’s scientific contributions have influenced scholars and practitioners worldwide, in disciplines ranging from business to healthcare and beyond. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, PBS, The Atlantic, The Economist, Oprah Magazine and elsewhere. She has twice been invited to brief His Holiness the Dalai Lama on her research.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. Dr. Fredrickson has been advancing the science of positive emotions for more than 20 years. She is currently Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she directs the PEP Lab. Her books, Positivity and Love 2.0 have been translated into more than 20 languages. Barb's scientific contributions have influenced scholars and practitioners worldwide in disciplines ranging from business to healthcare and beyond. She joins us today to discuss her book, Love 2.0, and her fresh take on what love really is. Dr. Fredrickson, it's so great to have you onboard BetterWorldians Radio today. Thanks for joining us.

Barbara Fredrickson
Hey, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, you're very, very welcome. Let me start out by asking you're really well-known for your book, Positivity, and your study of positive psychology. Talk to us a little bit how that relates to the study of love, would you?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, my research has been on positive emotions for more than two decades now, and I was moved to start focusing on love, in particular, because the data that were just piling up in our research studies were pointing to the fact that the positive emotions that we share with others compared to the ones that we experience on our own, the ones that we share with others in connection are especially potent, they're especially impactful for our health and wellbeing. And so that got me to look to see what is it about shared positivity that seems to be so different.

Raymond Hansell
Can you tell us how you began studying love as a positive emotion?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, well, in some ways it was kind of a happy accident in that I was finding ways to test the long-term affects of increasing one's daily diet of positive emotions and seeing how that added nutrient in people's lives would affect them for the better or affect them, at all. And in doing that I began to study a particular ancient meditation technique. There's so much more work in contemplative science, they're looking at how meditation can change brain functioning, change health. And there's one ancient meditation technique that's really about instilling skills for self-generating positive emotions, and that's an ancient technique that goes by many names, but one of the names is Kindness Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation, and so I started doing studies on that as a way to increase positive emotions and see what happens, and this very successful program of research. And what I learned by looking at those data is that, wow, it seems like it's not just the fact of any positive emotion, it's the positive emotions we share that seem to be especially potent. I'm not saying other positive emotions don't influence our health and wellbeing, they do, but it's these ones that we share in micro-moments of connection with others that seem to give us the biggest health boost.

Raymond Hansell
That's really intriguing. We'll be talking a lot about that in the segment coming up. In the meantime, I'd like to also ask you that you state that we have to first forget what we think we know about love, so what do we have to forget? Tell us what love isn't?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, I think one of the things that makes it hard to talk about love in scientific terms is that it's such a big word for us. We use it to mean so many different things, and we have very personal relationships to our definitions of love, you know, kind of a hard one through our own heartache sometimes. It's very common to view love as one in the same with romance or romance and marriage or falling in love and thinking of love as exclusive and everlasting. Those are adjectives that I don't think precisely describe the portion of love that I'm shining a spotlight on here. And now certainly we have long-lasting relationships, certainly people do fall in love, I'm not saying that those things don't happen, but we're -- from a scientific angle it's not helpful to use the same exact word for many different kinds of phenomena. So I'm pointing out that there's sort of drilling down into all of those different experiences we could understand love as an emotion, and the truth about emotions is that they are -- they're short-lived, they're fleeting. And if we understand the aspects of love that are on the time scale of emotions we have a better understanding of what holds our most important relationships together.

Raymond Hansell
Okay, so if we could just summarize, how do you describe, therefore, this new definition? What is love by this new scientifically vetted point of view?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, right, from an emotions perspective love is a micro-moment of connection between you and another living being, where you're sharing a positive emotion. It's as if a single positive emotion is rolling through like a wave, two bodies and brains at once, creating a synchrony between two people where there's a literal biological oneness unfolding between two people. So it's when you share a laugh with a friend, when you smile at a baby, it doesn't even have to be your baby, it could be the baby on the plane, or when you hug your neighbor with compassion. Those kinds of micro-moments of connection where people experience a heartfelt positive emotion and it's echoed back from another person, mirrored back. That is -- those are these really potent micro-moments of love.

Raymond Hansell
Why is it difficult to talk about love in scientific terms? Do you find that that's an issue?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, for the scientific community I actually give a more precise label to this, I call it positivity resonance. It's when a positive emotional state is resonating across two brains and bodies at once. But this micro-moment of connection, of resonance is the foundation or the building block, the momentary building block of our love relationships, and the more we have micro-moments of connection the stronger our bonds, the deeper our trust, the more comfort we have in our communities. And so it's helpful to sort of draw the microscope to these moments to be able to understand how things like bonds, family ties, and community can be strengthened. Like this is the glue

Raymond Hansell
I was just going to ask you, you say our bodies need love as much as we need food and water, can you explain that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, it's a -- it functions as a nutrient. Here's a really fascinating scientific finding from looking across hundreds of studies on the importance of social connection for longevity. And we find that there's certain health behaviors that we talk about all the time, you know, tobacco use, getting proper physical activity levels, eating right. It turns out that if you feel connected to your community, you feel that you're embedded within social relationships that are important to you, that's every bit as predictive of how long you will live as is whether you use tobacco or are physically active, and yet we don't think of these micro-moments of connection as health behaviors. I think we should be, we're discovering all kinds of evidence of how they impact our health, so we should be thinking of our daily experiences of emotions and connections as part of our daily requirements to be healthy individuals.

Raymond Hansell
And I guess just the opposite is true, that if we lack love it has the same affect of lacking oxygen, food, water, what have you?

Barbara Fredrickson
Exactly, you know, one of the -- a really strong predictor of shorter lifespans is being socially isolated. We also see that loneliness shows up at a cellular level in terms of a shift in the immune system functioning, so there's ways in which our social and emotional experiences, they're not just experiences that roll through our mindsets. Emotions are by definition they're kind of mind and body events simultaneously, so they serve as that bridge between experience and health. And because emotions affect our bodies whatever emotions we experience frequently set us up for health or illness.

Raymond Hansell
We need to take a short break now. I'd like to offer this challenge to our listeners, if you know someone whose acts, no matter how small, are making a big difference in the lives of other people we'd love to hear about them. Please tweet us at HASHTAG BETTERWORLDIANS, so we can tell the BetterWorldian community. We'll talk more with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson when we come back. In the meantime, you can learn more at BETTERWORLDIANS DOT COM, and follow our live tweets at TWITTER DOT COM SLASH BETTERWORLDIANS. We'll be right back.

Raymond Hansell
We're back live with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. We'll talk more with Barbara in a moment, but first we'd like to share some big news here at BetterWorldians Radio. As many of you know, we've recently launched a worldwide Kindness Campaign. We're challenging BetterWorldians around the globe to watch a two-minute video that illustrates the power of kindness. We when we reach a million views we'll release funds for surgeries that will allow 10 kids in the developing world to walk for the first time. Please watch the video and share it with your friends at Color With Kindness Dot Com, that's Color With Kindness Dot Com. And now let's welcome back Dr. Fredrickson and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Barbara.

Barbara Fredrickson
Hey.

MarySue Hansell
You know, you call love the supreme emotion, what does that mean?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, it's my way of describing that one of our positive emotions seems to have a special capacity to bring us health and enliven us. And what's kind of interesting is that in the science of emotions there's this very democratic view of saying all emotions are important, they're all equally important. And the science of relationships, that's not the case, I mean people say love relationships, those are the most important ones. So I'm kind of taking a cue from relationship science and saying actually this one positive emotion may be more important than other emotions, our supreme emotion, one that's really affecting our health and wellbeing and in ways that allow us to not just gain health and wellbeing, but give health and wellbeing. When we have these micro-moments of connections with others we're not only getting something for ourselves, we're giving health.

MarySue Hansell
You know, we've always learned that gratitude was such a powerful emotion, but what you're saying, what you're arguing is that love is the best emotion?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, I think gratitude is really special because it's something that you could create out of thin air anytime you decide to focus on what are your blessings, what's your good fortune. And what I'm arguing here is that beyond knowing that yourself, what your good fortunes are, when you express your appreciation, when you connect with somebody over that appreciation that that actually can do the body even more good, and, again, not just your body, the other person's body in terms of providing a tune-up for your heart each time you connect.

MarySue Hansell
I like that, tune-up for your heart. You say love is brief, but reoccurring, could you explain that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, I mean sometimes people hear this new perspective on love and they think, oh, it's not everlasting, oh, no. And what -- I actually think it's quite liberating to have this sense of, okay, emotions are short-lived, that's the way they work, but we can re-stoke those emotions anytime that we wish. We can -- it's a forever renewable resource, so it's fleeting, yes, but once we understand the conditions that set the stage for these micro-moments of connection, of these micro-moments of love then we can unlock those instances skillfully and frequently.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, you know, what was new for me, the fact that you said in your book that love is not exclusive to two people, you know, like a husband or a wife, or a mother or a child, or even between friends, but there can be moments of love between two perfect strangers on the street. Now what's that all about?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, I think what I'm trying to do is widen the lens so that we see micro-moments of connection as these building blocks, and the -- a past history with a person isn't necessarily required, so that when you share a laugh with a person who's making your coffee at the coffee shop that is something that in that moment uplifts you and uplifts them. And certainly most -- perhaps many of our micro-moments of connection are occurring within our most cherished relationships, but they're not exclusively within our most cherished relationships, they're in our connections with community. And there's no reason to keep us, keep ourselves in the mindset that we can only feel love when we're, quote, in love with somebody, that we can experience these positive, health promoting states even when we're out shopping or out on the town or at our community center or at our place of worship. You know, it's just these are heartfelt, genuine connections with others that do good and give good health regardless of whether you have a past history.

MarySue Hansell
You know, that's a great thought to think that you can improve yourself just by having these nice connections with people you meet on the street or anybody in a restaurant. What actually happens in the body when these things happen? What's the kind of science behind this?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, well, there's interesting science to show that when two people connect over a shared positive emotion there are very clear signs of a biological synchrony going on between the two. So people's heart rhythms come into sync, their biochemistries come into sync, even their neuro firings come into synch in a very broad scale way. So it's as if it really challenges the idea of thinking that an emotion belongs to one person because in these cases we're seeing, you know, a wave of positive emotion kind of unrolling across two brains and bodies at once, creating a unity of experience between people. And, again, this is not exclusive to having gone from not knowing someone to having a love relationship with them. Even two strangers can have this synchrony in brain activity and biochemistry as they connect over positive emotions, and that seems to be a really vital nutrient.

MarySue Hansell
And you're looking at that in the brain scans, that's how you can tell?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, there's -- what I'm doing is integrating research from many different laboratories and, yes, some researchers have done, looked at connection like this in brain scans.

MarySue Hansell
Now what exactly are the health benefits that you were referring to by having these micro-moments of connections?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, in my own research lab we look at cardiovascular health, and one way to capture the health of the cardiovascular system is to look at what's called the vagal nerve, which is a key conduit that connects your brain to your heart. And the functioning of this vagus nerve predicts your cardiovascular health, it predicts how well your body regulates glucose and inflammation. So it's something that serves as a predictor of people's generalized physical health. And what we find is that when we teach people ways to self-generate more of these micro-moments of connection in daily life they improve the functioning of their vagus nerve in lasting ways. And so that's what leads me to say each time we have these connections with others it serves as a miniature tune-up for the heart, you know, not just your heart, but the other person's heart.

MarySue Hansell
Well, that's very interesting. So you're saying it can improve your heart health and even have affects on, say, diabetes or something like that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Potentially, yes, I mean we're seeing the connections, the research shows connections between the functioning of the vagus nerve and a number of different health indices. And we're now looking at affects in white blood cells in terms of the strength of your immune system, and we're seeing really promising initial findings there.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, I'll have to follow your work on that, I love that. Can you give our listeners advice on how to go about creating more of these micro-moments?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, I mean we -- one very simple micro-moment intervention that we've tested is one where we just ask people at the end of every day think of your three longest social interactions of the day, you know, who you've spent some time with, and evaluate how close and attuned you felt with the people you were with today? That could be, again, people you work with, people you connected with in community or people in your family. And but just that regular habit of every day checking in with how connected and close and attuned you felt. We've found that people who do that on a daily basis, take like one minute to check in with themselves at the end of the day, show improvements in emotional wellbeing, but also improvements in cardiac, in this vagus nerve functioning. And so even that very minor shift that comes with appreciating connection, giving it more of our priority in daily life seems to have a physical health benefit.

MarySue Hansell
I was reading in your book, you had some very interesting stories. One was a story about Donna, do you remember that one?

Barbara Fredrickson
Oh, yes, yes.

MarySue Hansell
It might be interesting for the listeners to hear the application of that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, Donna's story was -- she was a friend of mine, who I was sharing some of this research with in the early stages, and she decided to take a very common positive psychology exercise and shift it more towards love. Instead of counting three blessings a day, she decided to create three loving connections each day. And this was an important shift for her because Donna is single, she was having a lot of stress at work, she was feeling like her health wasn't as best it could be. And she decided, okay, instead of just more passively counting my blessings, I'm going to find three opportunities each day to experience these micro-moments of connection that Barb is telling me about. And she had just -- first of all, she fell in love with the exercise because it was a way to look at each day as an opportunity for connection, and she found that it gave her the uplift that she needed to be able to get through those difficult days at work and to deal with the loneliness of being single, and make that seem a nonissue for her. And she just felt like it was an extraordinary shift in her life.

MarySue Hansell
Well, you know, you say in your book that no matter what your biological capacity for love is today you can bolster it through Loving Kindness Mediations, can you tell us the results of some of these studies you've done on this?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, I mean the reason it works this way is that another thing about the vagus nerve, that I didn't mention yet, is that it also establishes our biological capacity for connection, that people who have a healthier vagus nerve tend to be more attuned to connection with others. And so it creates this upward spiral, where the health of the vagus nerve makes us more socially attuned, and the more we're socially attuned it improves the health of our vagus nerve, so it creates this upward spiral dynamic. So a practice, like Loving Kindness Meditation or Kindness Mediation, is one that we've taught to research participants in our studies. They learn it in a workshop setting over the course of several weeks and devote maybe at most an hour a week, so it's not an hour a day, it's maybe 15, 20 minutes three, four times a week, to learning this new practice. And we find that we see very clear improvements in people's -- the functioning of their vagus nerve and their health and, again, also some really promising preliminary evidence on affects in the immune system.

MarySue Hansell
How do you test the vagus nerve, is that, you know, a scan or is that a heart variability?

Barbara Fredrickson
That's a heart rate variability, and it's looking at the variability in heart rate that's associated with respiration, so we measure both respiration rate and heart rate together and are able to get an index of the functioning of the vagus nerve.

MarySue Hansell
Interesting. What are the benefits of this Loving Kindness Mediation?

Barbara Fredrickson
Well, for one people report experiencing an upward shift in their day-to-day positive emotions, and that's akin to changing people's personalities in some ways. That people can change their overall levels of positive emotions or their happiness, if you will, by putting in effort into certain daily practices, and this is one of them. So while it's, you know, people hear about happiness and wellbeing and you could think, oh, I think starting next Monday I'll be a happier person. It doesn't really work that way unless you change your activities and learning this kind of meditation is one of the really promising and evidence based practices that can actually raise people's day-to-day positive emotions. And as it does it improves their physical health, it improves their resilience, makes people feel more connected to community, gives them a better outlook in terms of dealing with the changing circumstances of the day, kind of dealing with upsets. So it has all kinds of benefits.

MarySue Hansell
Do a lot more of that. Barbara, would you do us the favor of walking us through a mini one? I know not 15 minutes, of course, but just a mini one to give the listeners a feel for what this is? And I should say to the listeners that if you're driving or doing something that you need a lot of attention you might want to try this practice later, but, Barbara, if you would lead us on that I'd really appreciate it?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, well, I want to say right off that I have a website to go with my book, Love 2.0, which is www.positivityresonance.com, and there are a number of guided meditations there that your listeners can go to and learn. But I think what I'll do is just suggest a real informal practice of Loving Kindness Mediation that you could do even if you were driving, as you are walking from the parking lot to your office or anytime you find yourself waiting, instead of checking in on your phone to see who has been trying to contact you, instead of kind of pulling inward like that, look around you and select one or more people that you see. And you're not necessarily at this moment interacting, this is more of a preparatory activity. So pick somebody that you can see while you're driving, they're riding their bike or another driver, and silently wish for their happiness. You know, we all want to be happy, that's part of the human condition, and so just pick a random person and think, oh, may you have a good day, may you be happy today, may you live with ease today, may you feel safe today. The heart of Loving Kindness Meditation is just a number of wishes, like that, that we earnestly and in a heartfelt way extend to another, no strings attached. And the key, it's not a metaphysical thing that your wishes will instantly come true, but taking time to reflect on such wishes conditions your own heart to be more open and warm when you do connect with others. So the practice of Loving Kindness Meditation is practicing being attuned to others and caring, and the more you practice that in your own mind and heart, the more you can act that way when you do have a chance to connect with others.

MarySue Hansell
Well, that just sounds great hearing you talk about that. I'll have to do it right away. And, by the way, I have this, to some of those meditations on your website, they're wonderful, and your voice sounds so great on there. Anyway, one last question, before we go on the break is I've read in your book that you were honored by being picked as one of a handful of scientists for the presentation on mindfulness to the Dalai Llama, can you tell us just a little bit about that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Oh, yes, that was an extraordinary experience. He, more than any other world leader, is genuinely interested in learning what the latest science has to say about affects of meditation and so on. I mean he's even said when -- if the science shows that some part of Buddhist practices may be off base, we'll change those Buddhist practices. I mean so he's extraordinarily open to the science. Now most of the science is supporting the ancient wisdom, so so far it looks like a pretty good win-win dialogue in that sense. But so I had the chance to be with a handful of scientists in a conversation about how it is that we're learning and to share some of the research that I present in my book, Love 2.0.

MarySue Hansell
Wonderful. Well, thank you very much.

Raymond Hansell
Thanks, again, Barbara, very much. We're going to take another short break. You can find out more about these meditations by going to positivityresonance.com. When we come back we'll talk more with Barbara, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. In the meantime, we'll be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi, we're back with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, Author of Love 2.0. If you're interested in purchasing her book you can go directly to POSITIVITY RESONANCE DOT COM to learn more.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Barbara, it's Greg.

Barbara Fredrickson
Hey, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
You know, I was thinking that some people might hesitate with your definition of love for some of the reasons you talked about earlier, you know, wanting to reserve that word for close family and friends, loved ones. What do you say about that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, well, I think that my main aim in shining a spotlight on these micro-moments of connection is to help people see that they matter and that they're powerful health behaviors, and whether people choose to use the L word for those moments is not as important as being able to just recognize that those are important and they may matter as much to our health and wellbeing as our status, whether we're in a love relationship or not. And time and again in positive psychology we're finding that it's the frequent and mile experience of positive emotions that matters more than the intense once in a lifetime kind of fall in love experience. So we shouldn't think lightly of those mild experiences.

Gregory Hansell
That's interesting, and tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so let's just talk a minute about love and relationships? As you just mentioned, in some ways it sounds like the research sort of flies in the face of that romantic ideal, you've fallen once and you're in love forever after, but it also strikes me that the old adage then is true, you get out of it what you put into it. I mean what would you say to that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, well, I think for thinking about Valentine's Day and how to keep your beloved close to you, a focus on these micro-moments of connection can help you understand better the glue that keeps our most cherished bonds strong because the strength of our relationships is knit together through these micro-moments of connection. Again, if you have a status of being in love with somebody, but you don't spend any time sharing any positive experiences that strength of that bond is eventually going to erode.

Gregory Hansell
Right.

Barbara Fredrickson
And so we know, we can understand more, it's like, oh, it's these experiences that matter, it's not just the gifts you shower them with and so on. It's important to have those gestures, too. I'm not against Valentine's Day gifts, but it's really the micro-moments spent together, where you can share a laugh, where you can share an interest, a sense of caring for one another.

Gregory Hansell
Well, I want to underline for the audience that Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is not against Valentine's Day gifts, so get shopping, but also kidding aside what's the kind of thing people should do? Everyone right now is cramming, trying to think of something they should do for their loved one for Valentine's Day -- what are the kind of things you think they can do at home to really kind of renew that brief connection?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, I mean even just almost instead of thinking about it as something you do on one day, on a designated Valentine's Day is to create more rituals of connection with your beloved, so that maybe it means sharing a phone call at a certain time of day when you don't normally get to speak with one another or deciding to learn something new together where it's like, oh, you've both had an interest in hula hooping or whatever and you decide to sign up to do that with one another. So it's creating continuing experiences over time. That would be a thing that would be most research correct here.

Gregory Hansell
Is there any one thing that you've seen in your research in terms of in these kinds of relationships that really renders love or is it really just specific to the couple?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, I think it's -- well, emotions are very individual, there's no one-to-one mapping between a single activity that will make every person feel a positive emotion, so it's having, you know, this is one reason why I wrote my first book, Positivity, is to help people get insight into the kind of things that unlock their own positive emotions, and then finding ways to do that within your relationship. What are the things that we together can delight in and finding those activities and those could be intimate activities, as well, but not exclusively. But, you know, what is it that you both find so enjoyable that you want to experience it again and again, and just reorganize your week to include some of those things, not take each other for granted.

Gregory Hansell
I wonder whether some of the people listening at home might hear this research and get the mistaken idea that somehow long-term relationships then are invalid because love is brief and recurring? Let me ask you do long-term relationships have the power to deepen love?

Barbara Fredrickson
Oh, most certainly, and there it's not either or, so that would definitely be a misunderstanding of this research to think that somehow long-term relationships are empty or not helpful, that would be a complete misread of what the science shows us. I'm arguing that love happens at multiple time scales. One is in terms of our love relationships, but another very important time scale that we seem to be blind to sometimes is the time scale of these micro-moments of connection. And whether you're in a relationship or not those micro-moments of connection are available to us, and they are actually the vehicle through which or the means through which we can deepen our most important bonds, and then those most important bonds become a great wellspring for these micro-moments of connection.

Gregory Hansell
How does that deepening happen? I mean is there kind of a cumulative affect of these brief moments of love?

Barbara Fredrickson
Right, right, what we're finding across quite a range of research is that positive emotions, even though they are fleeting and sometimes very mild they accumulate and compound and build our resources for the better, so they act as nutrients. Because eating one stem of broccoli as like the only vegetable that you eat all year, that's not going to make you healthy, but having a range of fruits and vegetables in your day, you know, increases that -- the flow of nutrients into the body. So having regular experiences of positive emotions provide nourishment for our growth, put us on trajectories of growth, and one of the things that is strengthened and grown through those nutrients is the strength of our relationships, the fabric of community around us, and our organizations can become stronger, as well.

Gregory Hansell
Yes, I think that's wonderful. I just wanted to underline for everyone that it really seems to me that you're saying that this notion of love can really deepen our relationships, and I think that's a key takeaway, especially for Valentine's Day about ever refreshening and always doing these small things, these micro-moments of connections throughout the day have the power to really change your relationships and make them more powerful.

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, most definitely.

Gregory Hansell
You know, another thing that, unfortunately, happens on Valentine's Day is that people that aren't in relationships start to feel bad about what they perceive as a lack of love in their lives.

Barbara Fredrickson
Right.

Gregory Hansell
Could it be that there's something to apply here, as well, because you could try to have these moments with strangers maybe, et cetera. Maybe you could say something about that?

Barbara Fredrickson
Exactly, and in many ways what I'm doing is lowering the bar on love and making it more accessible to everybody. And that whether you're in a relationship or not in a relationship we shouldn't think of that relationship status as meaning that we're either locked out of love or have something -- anyway, that not being in a relationship doesn't mean that you're locked out of love, that it's a perspective shift, being able to see love in these micro-moments of connection actually allows you to experience it more often. Because one of the things that is a huge barrier to our experience of love is thinking it doesn't exist for us. If we think it doesn't exist for us it won't exist maybe because when you have a chance to connect with someone you'll be, you know, you'll have your nose in your Smartphone or you'll miss it all together. So if you recognize that these interactions can occur then you'll lean into them more and they will occur. So here's a place where believing love can be part of your daily life will actually make a difference.

Gregory Hansell
So for that person listening at home right now, who is just kind of bummed out and loves what you're saying and wants to get started, what can they do, what's the first thing they should do?

Barbara Fredrickson
Yes, well, when you're with other people actually slow down, make eye contact, don't bury your nose into your Smartphone and disconnect from people. I mean instead of connecting to people virtually, who aren't present, connect to people who actually are present and share a smile or a kindness or a conversation that those -- just genuinely focusing on the actual people in your midst is the place to start.

Raymond Hansell
You know, also, Barbara, this is Ray, I just was struck by the quote in the very beginning of your book, the Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them, there ought to be as many for love. And I often think that maybe we're experiencing what you're defining as love more often, we just have a limited way of expressing it.

Barbara Fredrickson
Exactly, exactly, so this is not a new phenomena that I'm introducing, it's something that we all have experienced countless times, but maybe haven't appreciated it as important, and so that's why I use the word love for it because we use the word love for things that are exceptionally important. And so I'm arguing that these micro-moments of connection that we maybe haven't given a second thought to, actually, those are exceptionally important.

Raymond Hansell
Well, for our listeners out there we send a lot of love out to all of you as a result of this wonderful presentation and interview with Dr. Fredrickson. For all of you out there you can find out more about this amazing book, Love 2.0, and Dr. Fredrickson's other work by going to Positivity Resonance Dot Com. Barbara, I'd like to take this opportunity from all of us here to thank you for joining us on BetterWorldians Radio today.

Barbara Fredrickson
Oh, thanks for having me, and thanks for doing what you do.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you, Barbara.

Raymond Hansell
You're very welcome.

MarySue Hansell
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Please join us next week on BetterWorldians Radio. We'll be talking to Jenn Lim, the CEO of Delivering Happiness. Created together with Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, Delivering Happiness is a movement that aims to help people, organizations and businesses apply different frameworks of happiness to their lives. We have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks, and if you know an unsung BetterWorldian who would make a great guest on our show please send us an e-mail at RADIO AT BETTERWORLDIANS DOT COM. In the meantime, we'd like to remind everyone that you can be a part of a miracle by simply sharing our video challenge and help heal 10 disabled children. It's that easy, just go to Color With Kindness Dot Com, watch the video, share it with your friends and give these kids the gift of a lifetime. We'd like to thank everyone today for listening. You can join the BetterWorldian Community at BETTERWORLDIANS DOT COM. And until next time, to everyone, Happy Valentine's Day and be a BetterWorldian.