This One Tip Can Make You Fall In Love With Your Partner All Over Again
As science journalist Marta Zaraska, author of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100, once told us, your relationships actually have physical health benefits. Really! A strong, committed partnership can enhance your immunity, longevity, and overall well-being—the operative words, here, being strong and committed. It's not just about having the relationship itself: "If the commitment is not there, then, unfortunately, the health benefits are not as powerful," she says on the mindbodygreen podcast. Noted.
And while there are plenty of expert ways to enhance your relationship and keep the love steady and strong, Zaraska tells us her favorite tip: "Try new things together, and [don't] settle into the same pattern all the time." According to her research, getting out of your comfort zone with your partner can help you become closer. Better yet: "It actually renews the first flutters of falling in love."
How feeling fear can elicit attraction.
It's not just a sweet sentiment: Supposedly, feeling exhilarated with your partner (like when you tiptoe out of your comfort zone) creates a rather physical response in your body. Butterflies, if you will. "With the thrill of roller coasters, for example, our bodies confuse it with sexual attraction," Zaraska notes.
Research backs it up: One study asked participants at an amusement park roller coaster ride to rate their seatmates' levels of attractiveness and found that the attractiveness ratings for both males and females were higher among those exiting the ride. Another paper uncovers three primary emotion categories for mating and reproduction, one of which is "feelings of exhilaration," and another older study found that people tend to feel more aroused after scary experiences. "So if you do something that's causing you fear, you also feel like it's exciting," adds Zaraska.
That doesn't mean you have to go scale a building or bungee jump to feel that sense of thrill—especially in the throes of a pandemic, might we add. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be as simple as exploring a new hobby together or perhaps embarking on a safe, socially distant road trip. You can also watch a suspenseful, spine-chilling movie to elicit that frightened-but-sort-of-excited response. As long as you're trying something new that gets your heart pumping, you can elicit that excitement.
Shrewd science journalist that she is, Zaraska poured over research to find what makes a stable, healthy relationship (that ultimately supports longevity). One of her findings? Trying new things together and stepping out of your comfort zone; this can give you those tummy flutters—the ones that bring you back to when you were perhaps first crushing on your partner and falling in love.
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