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Your love hormone (DW#336)

Have you heard of oxytocin?

Oxytocin is called the "bonding hormone" because it surges during sexual activity between people and during lactation in nursing mothers. When oxytocin surges within, human beings feel good and bond with another human being, creating new attachments or cementing existing ones.

The surge of oxytocin is so large during these particular moments of relationship activity that until recently, scientists did not realise that oxytocin is also released during subtler and low key moments, such as playing or cuddling with your children, getting to know someone new, sharing a personal story, trusting someone or being trusted by them.

During such everyday activities oxytocin is also released, leading to good feelings and attachments with others.

Oxytocin also works in another way. It turns off the "alarm system" of the brain by calming the amygdala so that you can put down your guard and get closer to the other person. To put it another way, the release of oxytocin...

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Turning me into we (DW#335)

Have you noticed that when we are feeling negative unpleasant emotions such as anger, anxiety or fear, we feel quite alone and distant from other human beings?

When our bodies and brains are experiencing such emotions, they are designed to contract. In other words, we develop tunnel vision and cannot see anything or anyone except our own pain and our own problems. In fact, the problems in our life appear large and crowd out anything except the pain.

When we have a headache, for example, do we notice anything anything but the headache? Do we notice that our knees, stomach or feet are fine? Not really. The headache becomes the focus of our life. The headache expands to push everything else out of our awareness.

On the other hand, when we are experiencing pleasant emotions such as gratitude or joy, our focus widens beyond ourselves. When we are feeling positive emotions, we can include others in our field of awareness. Our awareness expands from our habitual focus on "me" to a more...

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Connecting with others makes you happy, healthy and spiritual (DW#334)

Continuing our discussion on the new theory of love, Barbara Fredrickson explains that ‘micro moments of connection’ or ‘positivity resonance’ make us healthy, happy and spiritually connected.

"Love is our supreme emotion" writes Fredrickson: "Its presence or absence in our lives influences everything we feel, think, do, and become. It’s that recurrent state that ties you in— your body and brain alike—to the social fabric, to the bodies and brains of those in your midst. When you experience love—true heart/mind/soul-expanding love— you not only become better able to see the larger tapestry of life and better able to breathe life into the connections that matter to you, but you also set yourself on a pathway that leads to more health, happiness, and wisdom."

Fredrick son’s claims are borne out by others doing similar work.
According to research findings of psychologist Susan Pinker, it's not a sunny disposition or a low-fat,...

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The magic of positivity resonance (DW#333)

As we discovered yesterday, Barbara Fredrickson’s new theory of love suggests that "Love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people – even strangers – connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong".

She explains that the feeling of love is a biological phenomenon, a phenomenon where three separate but interwoven events synchronize for a moment in your body to create the feeling of love.

These events are:
1) A shared positive emotion or emotions between two or more people. These emotions although momentary, create measurable changes in brain wave activity in your brain. For example, if you share a moment of happiness or a joke at the same time with someone, it would be a shared positive emotion between the two (or more) of you.
2) A biological response in the brains of those sharing these emotions (she calls this biobehavioral synchrony). In other words, what happens in your brain has an impact on the other person’s brain which is also...

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A new theory of love Not in any folder (DW#332)

Every once in a while, a book comes along that completely shifts our paradigms about certain concepts, and challenges long held beliefs and opinions. Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson is one such book.

Barbara is one of the world’s leading positive psychologists. For the last two decades she has been exploring the science of positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, amusement, and hope. (Such a fun job, right?). In her latest book, Love 2.0, she outlines a new theory of love that is incredibly hopeful, optimistic and practical.

She writes:
". . . love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection. It’s that poignant stretching of your heart that you feel when you gaze into a newborn’s eyes for the first time or share a farewell hug with a dear friend. It’s even the fondness and sense of shared purpose you might unexpectedly feel with a group of strangers who’ve come together to marvel at a hatching of sea...

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Learn a new language (DW#331)

We spent last week talking about Dr. Gary Chapman’s love languages.

Did you recognize your own love language? And did you discover your spouse’s? (Hint: It is related to what you complain about the most!)

Can you now tell that the way your spouse is expressing love to you may not feel like love to you because it is in a "foreign language"?

Do you recognize that what each of you complains about missing in the relationship is a big clue to what love language is not being spoken? It is almost as if your love was being lost in translation.

Once you begin to recognize these things, here are two challenges for you, should you choose to accept them (which will have a dramatic impact on your relationship)

1) Challenge yourself to demonstrate love to your spouse in a language that feels natural to them and that they understand.
2) Help your spouse understand your love language and what you need and are requesting in order to feel loved.

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Let’s cuddle (DW#330)

The fifth and final love language is physical touch. If your love language is physical touch, you feel love when the other is physically close to you. You crave physical affection and the best thing someone can do for you is hug you.

If your spouse’s love language is physical touch, please don’t skimp on the cuddles and the hand-holding.

When they are upset or emotional, don’t leave them alone because physical distance from you feels like abandonment to them. Being held will comfort them more than your words (or advice!) can.

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Actions speak louder than words (DW#329)

The fourth love language is acts of service.

If your love language is acts of service, you believe that actions speak louder than words and you show others you love them by doing things for them that make their lives easier.

You feel loved when others do things for you that make your life easier. You prefer that someone show you love by cleaning your car than by telling you that they love you.

If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, little things that you can do for them to make their life easier will mean a lot. A "honey-do list" is a request for being loved by taking care of household tasks!

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Wrap it up. (DW#328)

The third love language is receiving gifts.

If your love language is receiving gifts, you consider all gifts as tangible expressions of love from the other person. When you receive a gift, you know that the person was thinking of you and the gift is a symbol of that thought. It does not have to be expensive to satisfy you, of course. For you, it is the thought that counts. If your loved one has purchased, found or made something that is meaningful for you, it makes you feel loved.

If your loved one’s love language is receiving gifts, you do need to invest some effort, time and possibly some money in finding a gift that tells them that you know them and what is meaningful to them.

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Be here for me! (DW#327)

If your love language is quality time, you need the other to be present and available for you without distractions. You need time and attention from your loved one in order to feel loved.

Sharing meaningful conversation fills you up and doing things together increases the love that you have for the other. Your idea of a perfect evening is reading a relationship book together and discussing it.

If your spouse’s love language is quality time, please stop doing things for them and being so busy you don’t spend time with them.

Stop vacuuming and go sit on the sofa with them.

Seriously!

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