What happens when you ask an appreciative question? 

"Other people are your best guarantee of Raising your happiness, lowering stress and improving your focus"

Dr Professor Barbara Fredrickson, has found that it takes just a micro-moment to genuinely connect with somebody in ways that can improve your happiness. Her studies suggest that a positive emotion shared is much better than a positive emotion experienced alone. And this is particularly true if you can synch up your bio-behaviors by making eye contact or matching vocal tone to the person you’re interacting with. In these moments of “positivity resonance” you mirror the way each other is feeling, the way each other’s brains are working, and as a result you start to see the other person as an extension of yourself, creating an upward spiral of connection and trust between you.

When we are time-poor or annoyed by another it's often in these moments that relationships tend to falter. In the work by Dr. Gottman, he states that we often reject or ignore people unknowingly or knowingly and this has a detrimental effect on the happiness of not only our relationships to others but also to ourselves. 

So how can we pull off authentic, positive connections with others if you’re not naturally outgoing or you spend a lot of your day with people you don’t really get along with? 


By investing in micro-moments of positivity resonance...by asking appreciative questions. Sounds like the last thing you would do, but it's exactly this ability to lean in that raises your happiness levels. An appreciative question is a question that looks for 'the true, the good, and the possible' in someone, like:

  • What went well yesterday for you?

  • What made you laugh over the weekend?

  • What are you hoping for in 2018?

They are questions that for most people will elicit a story that allows them to savor a positive emotion with you, making it easy for you to make eye contact or match their body language and so build a connection.

Of course not everyone will have something positive or even anything to say. That's cool, it's important to let go of expectations of hoped for responses. Most of the time at work we end up being more frustrated by others not appreciating our efforts to try, so it's best to also navigate how we deal with expectations ( check out H for Hang Up).

So if this is a step you want to invest in further, try identifying a relationship in your life that currently needs developing. Try asking an appreciative question consistently over a week or a month, and notice what happens for you and for them. I guarantee as you continue to lean in, appreciate and resonate more your happiness levels will increase.

Also have a think about how many appreciative questions you are asked?   What would you like to share with others?

'P' in our Be Happy programme is for 'Plug the gaps' and this sections helps you to improve your happiness at work by identifying how to create a tapestry of support

Ready to explore this first step of happiness further?

Our new masterclass Be Happy First goes live on 15th January. Be the first to secure yours today at our early bird price of £97, click HERE

Check back soon as we look at our last step 'Y' for 'Your Words' where we look at a self-compassion tools to help you bust some of those limiting-beliefs.

With love,



Samantha Clarke