There is this amazing article on TheAtlantic.com called “There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science.)” That sounds like quite the buzzkill for my love to love behind, but it’s actually quite the opposite.
The piece has several quotes from psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, whose new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, posits a beautiful new theory about how love works. Fredrickson, a positive emotions researcher, says that love is not some big iron thing that bonds people together for a 75 year marriage. She says that love actually happens in micro-moments.
That means that you have these moments of synchronized emotions with people–be it a child, a parent, a spouse, a good friend or even a stranger. Yes, Fredrick says it’s possible to temporarily fall in love with a stranger in one of those micro-moments. I love it!
My career requires frequent social outings and sometimes I do connect very strongly with strangers that I meet. To think that it could be “love” is quite interesting.
The science behind this theory is even more intriguing and beautiful. Love, like other emotions has physiological components. So in these micro-moments your body links with that person. The vagus nerve, which connects your brain to your heart does all types of awesome things.
In her book, Fredrickson says:
Your vagus nerve stimulates tiny facial muscles that better enable you to make eye contact and synchronize your facial expressions with another person. It even adjusts the minuscule muscles of your middle ear so you can better track her voice against any background noise.
It’s such a special thing. I smiled the whole time I read that. The fact that your body adjusts to hear that person better and that your face wants to do what that person’s face does…it’s just beautiful.
Gosh, I love love.
There’s also some interesting data in there about meditation and Buddhism and how being a loving person makes you a physically healthier person. There’s no downside to being a loving, happy, open person. Think about it.
I strongly encourage you to read the piece.
On that note, there was one part in the article that got me thinking. What or who in your life right now brings you the greatest source of happiness?