When you think of love, you probably think about big moments like marriage, births, budding romances and grand romantic gestures. But new research emerging from the lab of Professor Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina shows that under the right circumstances, love can be experienced any time with anyone.
The research shows that in most instances when your eyes meet another person's, what occurs is a kind of mind-body-meld. On a physiological level, activity in your body and brain triggers parallel changes within another person’s body and brain. Your minds literally sync up. Viewed this way, love belongs not to one person, but to pairs or groups of people and is actually all about finding connection. It’s utterly bizarre to think that we can experience love, at least this scientific definition of love, with a total stranger.
Fredrickson calls this physiological experience of connection positivity resonance, and has shown these micro-moments of shared kindness, compassion and understanding not only make us feel good, but may also make us healthier. In fact, these moments might allow us to live longer by lengthening our telomeres
If experiencing more love in our lives can boost our health, what can we do to harness fully this information? Here's what Frederickson and her team have shown:
Three Loving Connections
Frederickson and her team have shown the power of practicing Loving Kindness Meditation: a regular practice can lead to a boost in positivity and life satisfaction as well as a reduction in depressive and illness symptoms.
But even if you’re not a meditator, you might like to join me with your own "Three Loving Connections" experiment.