Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love and Other Drugs

Today, I stumbled upon an article that I found to be really interesting. Though the headline is a little harsh ("There's no such thing as everlasting love..."), the premise of the research the article is relaying is completely understandable and valid. Scientific love is a "micro-moment of positivity resonance" rather than long lasting emotions. I was just yesterday explaining the neurotransmitter oxytocin to my boyfriend in a similar manner - that it's the "love and cuddle" hormone and is released when you have an emotional connection to someone; anyone.

I think the best part of the article is the fact that this research is being done to dispel the current cultural "love myth." From the article,
"Part of Frederickson's project is to lower cultural expectations about love--expectations that are so misguidedly high today that they have inflated love into something that it isn't, and into something that no sane person could actually experience"
This research is doing something wonderful by showing us that love doesn't have to be romantic, familial, or even friendly; you can love any person you pass on the sidewalk going to class or sit next to on the bus. Making an emotional connection with someone through something as simple as saying "bless you" when a stranger sneezes or just making eye contact with someone can cause the oxytocin levels in both of you to raise in sync and in turn make your body better at having more of these little moments, which helps your long-term health!

Ah! It's just awesome that there's real research to prove that my goals of sharing life with everyone and loving people all the time are valid goals that most people should set for their own health benefits. I'm not saying to go love on someone for your own selfish gain, but it's nice to know that you're getting something out of it too. And to know that I am legitimately helping other people experience love is a wonderful reward!
I think the author of the article put it best when she writes,
"Lonely people who are looking for love are making a mistake if they are sitting around and waiting for love in the form of the 'love myth' to take hold of them. If they instead sought out love in little moments of connection that we all experience many times a day, perhaps their loneliness would begin to subside."
I just think it's a beautiful sentiment and a great reminder to take advantage of those moments; to seek them out zealously and make someone's day by doing so - and lower both participants' "risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke!"

Take the time to make the little things count in this season of love.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Um, Wow!

Guys. I'm a second-semester senior. In college. When in the world did this happen?! Yesterday, I drove down to Edmond for a Silent Breakfast at a Panera Bread there. One of the middle schools in the city has a pretty new ASL Club whose teacher/sponsor/leader is a friend from OSU ASL, and she brought her students to breakfast as their first ever Silent Event. Talking to them made me remember what I was like as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grader. One of the 6th grade girls was half as old as I am-literally. She's 11! I just am amazed at how far I've come and how far they still have to go in their lives. It's humbling and absolutely incredible.

Remembering that I was once very similar to those young girls, taking everything personally and trying so hard to fit in, I wished that I had always thought the way that I do now - that every day should be filled with joy, and love, and not taken for granted; that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff; that it does get better, and the things that seem like big things now will be miniscule hilarities to look back on when you get older. I have truly reread note passed between friends and I form when I was 13 and 14 and shook my head and laughed at how utterly ridiculous we are as teenagers.

But you don't feel ridiculous when it's happening. And I guess that's part of the growing up process is going through that time of feeling like all eyes are constantly on you; working to fit in and then realizing as you get older that it just doesn't matter that much - that you're a good person, and people should get to know you in order to see that instead of judging based off of your clothes, or hair, or interests. I kind of feel bad for what these girls will soon be going through as high schoolers, learning the tough lessons of finding true friendship, heartache, anxiety for getting into college, knowing what they want to do with their lives, and pleasing their friends, teachers, and parents with all of those choices. It's making my heart beat faster just typing about it, and I've already lived through it!

It just reminds me to be thankful that I never experienced anything incredibly terrible while I was a teenager, and makes me want to think of them and pray for them to learn what I have in the easiest way possible, rather than a tough and painful way. And maybe share through actions that life is best served with a smile, shared with a friend, and never taken for granted.