What\’s your idea of love? Is it when you want the best for someone else? When you give up putting your own self first to focus on another\’s feelings, desires, needs? When you give your whole self—heart, mind and soul—to another?
Scientists have made great progress in understanding love through researching the brain. A few facts emerged:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Romantic love is universal in humans.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â You can feel as ardently in love at 80 as 18.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â If you\’re in love you\’re as driven as an addict.
A person in love is as tenacious and goal-oriented as an addict in craving emotional connection with their partner. While this is nothing new to those who have been in love, what may be surprising is a tiny moment of connection, shared with another, can be love. In and of itself, a shared experience with another human can register as love. It doesn\’t need to be your soul mate. In fact, it can be a complete stranger, as long as the conditions are right and you make a real connection.
That means moments of love, if you expand your definition of love, can take place outside the small circle of your partner, friends and family. It means you can expand your experiences. It means you can have more love in your life.
In fact, these moments of love can be nearly limitless when you learn to become mindful of the possibility of positive connections with others. Your body can link with others\’ emotions, especially, and perhaps only, when you make eye contact with others. Your body has a natural ability to make positive connections, but not until you meet your gaze with the other person. Whoever said eyes are the windows to the soul was prescient.
Love Is Good for You
You\’ve probably seen the research that shows people with more social connections live longer and healthier lives. Further research shows that people who learn to increase moments of love in daily life, even miniscule experiences, improve the function of the nerve that connects your brain to your heart. It may even help build healthier immune cells.
This doesn\’t mean you have to be constantly seeking mini moments of happiness and joy with people. No one can or should be happy all the time. But increased moments of positive connections with others—be they rooted in empathy, kindness, appreciation, compassion—can boost your capacity for love. The more you are attuned to others, even in tiny time increments, the greater the benefits.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.Â If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.Â You can reach her here:Â https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.