A Next Big Idea Club Winter 2021 Must Read
The ability to connect with another person's physical and emotional state is one of the most elusive interpersonal skills to develop, but this book shows you just how approachable it can be. 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 to be able to really listen to each other. Often, we misunderstand or talk past each other. Many of us are left wishing that the people in our lives could really listen, understand, and genuinely connect with us. Based on cutting-edge neuroscience research and years of clinical work, psychiatrist Edward Brodkin and therapist Ashley Pallathra take us on 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 pillars of human connection: Relaxed Awareness, Listening, Understanding, and Mutual Responsiveness. Accessible and engaging, Missing Each Other explains the science, research, and biology underlying these pillars of human connection and provides exercises through which readers 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.