February 1, 2014

Love 2.0 by Barbara L. Frederickson

Love 2.0 by Barbara L. Frederickson
How our supreme emotion affects everything we feel, think, do and become

You recognize that five years from now, today’s photo will seem a bit outdated. By then, five years from now, your body’s physical properties might sift bit. Still, you are comfortable with the idea that your body remains pretty much the same from day to day. It has constancy.

Yet constancy, ancient Eastern philosophies warn, is an illusion a trick of mind. Impermanence is the rule - constant change, the only constancy.

Oxytocin, which is nicknamed by some the ‘cuddle hormone’ or the ‘love hormone’, is actually more properly identified as a neuropeptide because it acts not just within your body but also within your brain. Oxytocin has long been known to play a key role in social bonding and attachment.

Since the original study on oxytocin and the trust game was published in Nature 2005, variations on it have abounded. We now know for instance, that oxytocin does not supply make people more trusting with money, it also makes them far more trusting - a whopping 44% more trusting with confidential information about themselves.

Who you are today is also shaped by the third biological character: your tenth cranial curve. The key conduit connects your brain to your body is also called your vagus nerve. It emerges from your brain stem deep within your skull and although it makes multiple stops at your various internal organs, perhaps most significantly it connects your brain to your heart. You already know that your hearts rate shoots up when you feel insulted or threatened, but you may not know that it is your vagus nerve that eventually soothes your racing heart, by orchestrating (together with oxytocin) the equally ancestral calm-and connect response.

Scientist can measure the strength of your vagus nerve - your biological aptitude for love - simply by tracking your heart rate in conjunction with your breathing rate. This pattern is called vagal tone. Like muscle tone, the higher your vagal tone, the better. It even makes a quiet prediction about what illness may best you and how long you're likely to live. Your biological propensities for love and for health as we shall see are intimately intertwined. Measured at rest, vagal tone also tends to be extraordinarily stable over time. For most people, it remains roughly the same year after year.

That is because people with higher vagal tone, science has shown are more flexible across a whole host of domains - physical, mental, and social. Mentally they are better able to regulate their attention and emotions, even their behavior. Socially they are esp. skillful in navigating interpersonal interaction and in forging positive connection with others. By definitions, then, they experience more micro-moments of love. It is as though the agility of the conduit between their brains and hearts allows them to be exquisitely agile, attuned, and flexible as they navigate the ups and down of day to day life and social exchanges.

Just as you can build vagal tone through regular physical exercise, you can build vagal tone through regular emotional exercise of the kind I share in part II of this book. The key, once again, is the power of love.

John Masefield’s poem, Biography:

Best trust the happy moments. What they gave
Makes man less fearful of the certain grave,
And gives his work compassion and new eyes.
The days that make us happy make us wise.

“Love does not just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new- Ursula K LeGuin”

Tracking micro-momment practice: www.PostivityResonance.com

Loving is a skill. It takes practice. When you set the goal of learning to love yourself, you will find ever-present opportunities to practice this new skill, because you are never further than arm’s reach or perhaps better said, heart’s reach.

Love’s second precondition is connection. This is no less true for self-love than for positivity resonance with others. Truly loving your self requires that you slow down enough to truly meet yourself heart to heart letting the heart of your ‘I’ resonate with the heart of your ‘me’.

Referred books:
Barbara Ehrenreich - Dancing in the streets: A history of collective joy
Jo-Anne Bachorowski and Michael J Owren 0 Vocal expression of emotion
Michael Lewis, Jeanette M. Haviland-Jones - The Handbook of Emotions
Fifty different type of smiles - www.paulekman.com

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