Thursday , 9 November 2017
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8 Surprising Facts about Love

Eye ContactLove is easily understood to be the most powerful force in the world. It is the most important and yet a very misunderstood emotion that all of us experience.

Human brains are hardwired to connect with each other. Feelings that are the negative of love, namely loneliness and rejection, are painfully experienced as threats to survival. Contrary to common misconception, love doesn’t have to be the lasting, unchanging state that many of us wish it could be. Below are some 8 surprising facts about love that are actually based on research.

Human brains are hardwired to connect with each other. Feelings that are the negative of love, namely loneliness and rejection, are painfully experienced as threats to survival. Contrary to common misconception, love doesn’t have to be the lasting, unchanging state that many of us wish it could be. Below are some 8 surprising facts about love that are actually based on research.

1.      Love is not Lust

Physical attraction is a key art of love, but emotional love is very different from lust. That’s precisely why alcohol-fueled hookups and one-night stands don’t usually graduate into long-term relationships. Studies involving brain scans demonstrate that lust is evident in the motivation/reward parts of the brain while love is seen in the regions that are associated with empathy and caring.

2.      Love is a Momentary Feelings with a Long-Term State

Love is experienced as a state of communion, in the moment. People who love each other tend to mirror each other’s gestures, expressions, and physiological rhythms. Yes, that’s where the cliché about hearts beating as one.  However, love can also be a lasting emotional and mental state in which different people care deeply about each other, as well as feel moved by each other’s pain. More so, they strive to help relieve their partner’s suffering.

3.      Things that Kill a Relationship

There are certain things that kill a relationship stone dead. According to renowned psychologist John Gottman, who’s been analyzing the psychology of love for over 40 years, repeated criticism, stonewalling, being defensive, lots of expressions of contempt such as sarcasm are the bitter pills in any relationship.

4.      Lasting Relationships Take Time

There are certain traits that are characteristic of partners in long-term loving relationships. To start with, they think positively about each other when they aren’t together. They also support each other’s development and personal growth. They pursue shared experiences through which they can both learn and improve themselves.

5.      Capacity to Love

Research studies focusing on self-comparison and mindfulness demonstrate that practicing these activities actually develops our brains so that they are more empathetic and positive in a matter of months. Mindfulness, as well as compassion meditation, increases brain activity in areas associated with positive emotions and empathy. It also decreases feelings of fear and makes our brains deeply interconnected.

6.      Love is Healthy

Research shows that loving connections are actually beneficial to our long-term physical health. On the contrary, lack of a social connection, as well as loneliness, has been shown to reduce lifespans by the same length smoking done. Especially for men, marriage promotes long-term health. The demise of a spouse could increase the risk of early death.

7.      Love is not unconditional

For love to be felt, there must be a sense of trust and safety. In order to connect empathically and lovingly, the prefrontal cortex part of the brain has to transmit a signal to the brain’s alarm center. This message causes the brain to switch off its automatic ‘fight or response’ mode. People who went through neglect, childhood trauma, abuse or other such experiences that have the potential to threaten secure attachment tend to have a harder time switching off this system. They might not easily feel safe enough to love. This problem can be eliminated through therapy, though, or through a loving partner who demonstrates care and trustworthiness repeatedly.

8.      Love is Contagious

Feelings of compassion, caring, empathy and other positive expressions associated with love can trigger the same in others. That’s exactly why great leaders such as Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama work hard to inspire their followers to be their best versions. Great leaders also help their followers tone down the ‘fight or flight’.

Based on these amazing facts, it seems like most of the common beliefs people have about love were wrong anyway. Surprised? Contribute your thoughts to the comments section below.

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