- Expected 12 Jan 2021
The ability to connect with another person and truly be in tune with their physical and emotional state is one of the most elusive interpersonal skills to develop. This book shows you how.
In our fast-paced, tech-obsessed lives, rarely do we pay genuine, close attention to one another. With all that's going on in the world, and the never-ending demands of our daily lives, most of us are too stressed and preoccupied with our own thoughts and worries to be able to really listen to each other for long. Often, we seem to somehow "miss" each other, misunderstand each other, or talk past each other. Our ability to tune in to ourselves and to others seems to be withering. Many of us are left wishing for someone who could really listen, understand, and genuinely connect with us.
In Missing Each Other, researchers and clinicians Edward Brodkin and Ashley Pallathra argue that we must find the ability to be in tune with each other again, and they show us how. Based on years of research that they conducted together in a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded clinical study, the authors take a wide-ranging and surprising journey through fields as diverse as social neuroscience and autism research, music performance, pro basketball, and tai chi. They use these stories to introduce the four principal components of attunement: Relaxed Awareness, Listening, Understanding, and Mutual Responsiveness--explaining the science, research, and biology underlying these pillars of human connection, but also providing readers with exercises through which they can improve their own skills and abilities in each.
Clinical psychologists Brodkin and Pallathra share helpful advice for fostering meaningful connections in their excellent debut. Chapters are set up as phases in the process of attaining "attunement" (or "the ability to be aware of your own state of mind and body while also connecting to another person"), starting with self-awareness and regulation, which leads to a decrease of tension and stress when meeting new people and fosters what Brodkin calls "relaxed awareness." Drawing on examples from spirituality, sports, and comedy (such as how both the Dalai Lama and Michael Jordan have the "ability to relax deeply while maintaining awareness, even during intensely high pressure situations"), as well as their clinical experience, the authors show how attunement can function in real-life scenarios and be achieved through practice. Each chapter ends with exercises based on mindfulness and tai chi, such as an exercise in which one attempts to walk in sync with a partner. Mental processes are explained clearly, such as how mindful breathing can lead to being attentive to other "automatic processes." This refreshing take, devoid of trendy self-care speak, acts as a soothing salve for those anxious in social situations. The result is a highly informed guide on how to be fully present and open with others.