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.

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