Afterwards, when the students reflected on the experience, they noted the profound benefits of having someone to connect with. Suzuki recounts, “[They said,] ‘It was so nice to have a conversation where somebody really listened to me and asked questions about this experience that I found useful.'” Not only do the vacation memories themselves conjure positive emotions (which can help enhance mood), but the deeper exchange between two people can cultivate feelings of validation—which, in turn, Suzuki says can help ease stress.

We should note that Suzuki saw these benefits in a lab setting between two people who met for the very first time. “It’s even easier to do it with somebody that, you know,” she says. To practice mindful conversation in your own life, here’s your homework: “Really be present,” Suzuki says. “Listen deeply, be curious, ask questions, and give a timeline.”

For instance, Suzuki allotted her students 10 minutes, but you could dedicate 15 or 20 minutes to discuss one person’s vacation before switching stories. No matter your timeline, make sure you fill the space with curiosity, follow-ups, and details. “It really makes a difference.”

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