It can take an unconditionally loving mindset to notice how extremely interconnected we all are. Thus, it’s something that may not be realized until later in life, when the importance of those around us becomes integral to our understanding of the world.
The concept of co-regulation highlights this connection. It explains the profound impact that people can have on each other when they interact, drastically shaping relationships, healing experiences, and the most mundane interactions: When you’re tranquil, those around you will feel more tranquil; when those around you are tranquil, you will feel more tranquil.
Co-regulation is not just a figment of the mind—it can even be observed at the physiological level. Mirror neurons, a group of cells in the brain, are both triggered when we perform a particular behavior and when we observe other people doing the same thing. It is the cellular basis for empathy, and also helps explain why you feel anxious when around “nervous-wrecks,” and filled with love and comfort when around loved-ones and pets.
Co-regulation, when grounded in love, is the ultimate healing tool. In fact, studies have found that when caregivers try to make an emotional and compassionate connection with patients, the patient’s wellness is improved. Other research has found that sharing emotions with others can lead to increased immune system function.
How to Co-Regulate
So, what’s the most effective way to reap the benefits of co-regulation? Follow these steps below to be grounded in the power of connection.
First, quiet your mind and direct your full attention and care to the person you are interacting with. This will facilitate a strong atmosphere of close connection and allow your communication to be especially meaningful.
Then, make sure that you’re being kind and thoughtful. Center your speech around care and love. If it’s hard to relate to the person you’re with, imagine that there is brightness radiating from their heart. Or, imagine that they’re someone you hold very close to your heart. Work on internalizing and feeling compassion for their experiences.
Co-regulation is an incredibly beautiful thing. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to find comfort in anybody. With it, we can take on the world together.