Blog

The 36 Questions that lead to love (DW#366)

Have you heard of the 36 questions that lead to love?

 
The theory behind this experiment was that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
 
The authors said: "One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure."

Being vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult (especially these days when we spend so much effort in self-protection), and so this exercise encouraged self disclosure by asking a set of structured and increasingly personal questions. 

The study involved asking strangers to engage in a 45 minute conversation where they asked each other the set questions. After 45 minutes of engaging in such a dialogue, the participants that they felt closer to the other person and...
Continue Reading...

Express physical affection (DW#345)

Science is making it clear that our brains and our bodies are designed to thrive with affectionate touch from our loved ones.

While we affectionately hug and cuddle young children naturally, this seems to taper off as they grow, although human beings never actually outgrow their need for loving touch.

Various studies have shown that people of all ages experience increases in physical and emotional wellbeing when they experience affectionate and appropriate touch.

Studies have found that when a husband holds his wife's hand during labour, for example, her pain measurably decreases. And interestingly, the more empathy a person feels for the person in pain, the more their brains are synchronized and the feeling of pain diminishes.

Scientists have also found that subliminal touching (touching so subtle that it’s not consciously perceived) dramatically increases a person’s sense of well-being and positive feelings toward the ‘toucher’.

One study found that people...

Continue Reading...

More than a peck (DW#344)

According to our friend Dr. Gottman, couples should kiss for at least 6 seconds at a time, every day, to maintain a healthy relationship.

Why six seconds? According to Dr. Gottman, this "kiss with potential" is "long enough to feel romantic," yet it doesn’t make the kids late for school :)

It turns out that kissing has many many health benefits as well: it releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which means that the more you kiss, the more you bond.

Kissing also releases dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. The butterflies you get in your stomach when you kiss? They come from epinephrine and norepinephrine, which increase your heartbeat and send oxygenated blood to your brain. Some studies have even shown that kissing can cause a reduction in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so kissing could help lower your blood pressure and prevent heart attacks.

So for part of the OTL challenge, kiss your spouse for 6 seconds twice a day for the...

Continue Reading...

Looking for OTLs (DW#338)

We have been talking about nurturing love in our lives by practicing micro-moments of connection with others.

But given that in today’s world, we live in a "cocoon of self-absorption", how do we move from *disconnection* to connection?
One of the simplest ways to practice the art of connection is to intentionally be on the lookout for opportunities to perform
acts of intentional, deliberate connection and kindness in daily life.

Small gestures such as making eye contact with the check out clerk at the supermarket, asking how their day is going and being emotionally present to the answer, holding a door open for someone, allowing another driver to enter your lane, helping someone carry a load, moving over to make room for someone all have the potential to count as OTLs.

Simply pause for a moment to notice and become present to the feeling of goodwill between you and another human being in these micro-moments.

You will have delighted another with your small gesture, but you will...

Continue Reading...

You can love anybody – and everybody (DW#337)

One of the most exciting things about the upgraded version of love that we have been discussing these days is that it’s not limited to our most intimate relationships (yet, very importantly, can be practiced most frequently within them).

When we allow ourselves to open up to the possibility of creating micro-moments of connection, we can create this positivity resonance with others and experience the extraordinary gains in health and happiness that go with practicing this supreme emotion.

So go ahead. Look for opportunities to share a positive micro-moment of connection with another human being.

How many opportunities to practice love (OTLs) will you take advantage of today?

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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,...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.