I received a reply to the message from the woman I say I am in love with, I feel incredibly happy with this, she has been overseas the past six months. At the moment I am reading a book called Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson which redefines our ability to feel the ultimate emotion: Get It Here.
We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people–even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity.
Ready for our new, upgraded definition of love? Love 1.0 = The emotion you feel for your “soul mate” or kids or family; what we hear about on the radio, etc. Love 2.0? Love 2.0 is ubiquitous. It’s that “micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being.” It’s what Barbara describes as “positivity resonance.” Love is found in those TINY moments—the micro-moments—in which we are truly present, sharing a positive experience with someone. When that happens, our brains and bodies synchronize in truly stunning ways. Sprinkle in some mutual care for the others’ well being and you have positivity resonance—aka Love. What’s exciting about this upgraded version of love is that it’s not limited to our most intimate relationships (yet, very importantly, can be practised most frequently within them—something I’ve done a bunch of times since picking up the book yesterday). When we allow ourselves to open up to this possibility, we can create more of this positivity resonance with others and experience the extraordinary gains in health and happiness that go with practising this supreme emotion.
So how do we as humans define love, here are a few of my favourite takes at it:
1. Imagine if we were in contact with those micro-moments of love 24/7. It would transform my life for certain.
2. Imagine if you glimpsed it every day, it would be blissful: A Slice of Heaven.
3. And this is what drops away.
4. And your micro-moment mission is to…: When You Believe.
5. Not really a choice is it?
6. And you, and you, and you, and you…: Better Together.
7. One never knows what those micro-moments of connection can turn into.
8. Positivity resonance at some times, our greatest fears at others, it is our time to choose: How Deep Is Your Love.
9. Not really an example of Love 2.0, but I had to fit the bard in somewhere.
10. Definitely possible in both areas of love, one and two: Soul Shakedown Party.
11. All of the emotions come with Love.
12. Love is a two-way street: Give Love.
13. But we always have a favourite.
14. And then, time for some Rumi: I Love You for What You Are.
15. And from the Love Prince, Bob Marley comes how to achieve Love 2.0.
Barbara introduces us to the fact that micro-moments of love are created by and result in changes in three main biological characters: your brain, oxytocin, and your vagus nerve. As she says: “Put simply, your body was designed for love, and to benefit from loving.”
Very briefly, when we have positivity resonance, our brains synchronize in astonishing ways. This “neural synchrony” or “neural coupling” is produced as we attune to the individual(s) with whom we’re interacting. Oxytocin, the “love hormone” is, apparently, more appropriately identified as a neuropeptide because it shows up not just in our bodies but also in our brains. Barbara talks about some fascinating research on how increasing levels of oxytocin increase trust and cooperation. Then we get to Vagus. Our vagus nerve is our tenth cranial nerve. “It emerges from your brain stem deep within your skull and, although it makes multiple stops at your various internal organs, perhaps most significantly it connects your brain to your heart.” Hmmm… A physical, biological component of our bodies that connects our brain to our hearts? I’m listening! The short story here: As per all the benefits articulated above, Optimizing our vagus nerve’s functioning is a good idea. Good news is: our “vagal tone” can be developed much like our “muscle tone.” It just takes practice. We’re almost ready for those practices. First, desire.
Today’s playlist begins across the trough from my homeland, for all you others, that’s slang for New Zealand with Dave Dobbyn, then Whitney. A few rocky numbers follow with Jack Johnson, Calvin Harris and Bob Marley. The penultimate number is some soul from Andy Grammer featuring Lunchmoney Lewis, finishing with a Bollywood masterclass.
Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included until we next meet, my dear friends: