• Our Social Dimension

    The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being describes our social well-being dimension as "developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support network, while also contributing to our groups and communities."

    Positive psychologists offer six techniques for nurturing social well-being:

    • Positivity Resonance: a concept developed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in which two people can generate positive energy in one another and cause it to grow through three intertwined actions:

      • bidirectional exchange of positive expression (such as warmth and openness)

      • biobehavorial synchronous movements, i.e., mirroring one another's body language, smiles, and other nonverbal cues

      • mutual investment in one another's well-being

    • Capitalization: the act of sharing good news with another person and the resulting magnification of the effect of the original positive experience

    • Active Constructive Responding (ACR): a communication style in which a person responds to another person's positive news with eagerness, enthusiasm, or delight and actively follows up with positive probing questions or reflections (contrasted with passive constructive responding, active destructive responding, and passive destructive responding)

    • Constructivist Listening: described by the National Equity Project (an education reform organization) as "an effective strategy for engaging in conversations that are both intellectually demanding and emotionally challenging"; the purpose of this form of listening "is for the benefit of the speaker, not the listener"

    • Perspective-Giving & Perspective-Taking: a communication exercise to help ameliorate attitudes and empathy in members of groups in conflict due to a perceived or actual power differential

    • The "Hive Switch": a concept coined by Dr. Jonathan Haidt to describe a phenomenon in which individuals realize they have become part of and fused within a positive collective, transcending self-interest and merging with something larger than ourselves; hive switches can occur through synchronous physical movement or bonding events like flash mob dances, parades, festivals, carnivals, rock concerts, and so on

    Social Dimension Resources:

    Reflection Exercises:
    • Who in your life fosters positivity resonance when you spend time together?
    • Take a look at this chart on communication styles. Do you recognize your style? Who in your life practices Active Constructive Responding (ACR)?
    • Take a look at the resources above on constructivist listening and perspective-giving/perspective-taking? Is there a scenario in your personal or professional life in which individuals or groups could benefit from exercises in constructivist listening and perspective-giving/perspective-taking?
    • Have you ever experienced a hive switch, i.e., you've engaged in synchronous physical movement in a group or participated in another collective activity, and then realized you'd lost focus on self and fused with the group in a positive way?