In the 1960’s women in the Swedish countryside would sing a wordless song that could be heard for miles away.

This wordless singing is called kulning and had been practiced in Sweden as far back as the medieval period. Then women had to herd cattle alone and without horses. They discovered they could literally call the cows home with these beautiful, lyricless melodies.

These women created a way to lure wayward cattle home at the end of the day even though they lacked a resource such as horses. Similarly, we can create an approach to bring more moments of love into our lives even when we are deprived of our usual social contact.

We do that by finding ways to create micro-moments of love.

What are micro-moments of love?

The term micro-moments of love was coined by researcher Barbara Fredrickson to describe the small moments of positive connection that can occur between friends, family and even strangers. They occur when you smile at a stranger and are stronger if they smile back. They occur if you say “Thank you” and the other person genuinely says “You’re welcome.”

The positive feeling may last only a few seconds but that’s all it takes to reap several benefits

When you experience these tiny moments, your body releases feel-good chemicals that can uplift you such as oxytocin. These moments also strengthen the vagus nerve which connects the brain and heart and makes you physically healthier. Fredrickson’s research shows that over time experiencing these micro-moments makes you happier, more resilient and better able to connect to others.

How do you create these small moments of connection?

Normally, it’s pretty easy. You can go for a walk and smile at a stranger or wave hi. Then internally say something like “I wish you well.” You can ask the clerk at the checkout counter how they are doing and really listen. You can give and receive hugs. Some of these things we aren’t able to do right now.

But even if you’re not able to go out and meet people, you can still connect with others at a distance

A few weeks ago, I heard my neighbor open his door and I ran to my door to say hi. I make time to call friends I haven’t seen in a while and I smile when they pick up the phone or get on a Zoom call with me. Instead of just internally wishing them well, I actually say out loud to my family and friends that I love them. I even say this to my clients. And when a friend is sick I mentally say “I love you” to them as soon as I hear the news.

I know it may not seem like much, but these tiny things really do make a difference and add more joy and love to your day. I suggest you try connecting in some small way with family or friends. Think kind words when you see them or even say them aloud. These small moments of connection will make you happier and healthier and allow you to strengthen bonds with loved ones at the same time.

Even when it feels that love has left us temporarily, we can call it home. But unlike the Swedish women of old calling their cows with a special haunting song that took years to learn. We can call it forth by connecting with others in simple ways: smiling, wishing others well internally and expressing our love verbally.

Next step

How parents and children can thrive in the age of COVID-19

Some parents have noticed that their kids have become more difficult since lockdown. I hear reports of “talking back” or the children having more intense upsets than usual or getting upset far more often. As a parent, you may feel more stress than usual due to these upsets. And worse, you don’t even get a break since there are no more babysitters and nights out.

As a result, being a parent has become more stressful.

Fortunately, there is a way to reduce this stress. You can get your kids to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

Presenting: How parents and children can thrive in difficult times (online workshop)

We start off by learning how you can feel stronger despite everything that’s changed. Then we learn strategies to help your children feel stronger and do what you need them to do. The goal is to have them come out of this crisis feeling more capable and more optimistic about life. We don’t want them feeling afraid that they can’t cope. You’ll learn how to show them that they can thrive no matter what.

This program will be available near the end of May in 2020. To be notified when you can register, join the waiting list.