From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Loving large: What happens in vagus

Pair of Lovers (Liebespaar, 1480s)
Elvis chapels aside, it turns out that love occurs more in vagus than it does in Vegas.

Kristin Wong of MSN Living reports on a new book by social psychologist Barbara Frederickson called Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become.  In it this award-winning scholar presents an array of impressively footnoted facts about love with a capital "L."  Frederickson draws not only upon her own research findings, but also upon those detailed in weighty sources such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology and the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Frederickson's contention is that love is a "micro-moment of positivity romance" (try adding that to a valentine). Too clinical sounding?  Perhaps.  But Frederickson also contends that this definition expands, rather than shrinks, the parameters of that which we all long for…

Although "micro-moment" might seem far removed from "unto death do we part" – a host of micro-moments could add up to a lifetime of love.  Amazon reviewer Robert Biswas-diener explains that in Frederickson's
estimation "love is not one long gush of emotion but, rather, a chain of linked moments."  Amazon reviewer Todd B. Kashdan adds:  "Instead of limiting love to a small number of profoundly intense relationships where our innermost sense of self feels cared for, accepted, and validated by another person, she defines love by those 'micro-moments' when we feel connected to another human being with a sense of vitality, deep affection, and there is a mutual investment of attention and respect."

This does not rule out the benefits of a long-term monogamous relationship.  Frederickson's research indicates that "vagal tone" (associated with the vagus nerve, "one of three biological factors responsible for the feeling of love") can increase through such practices as Buddhist "loving-kindness meditation."  She also states that commitments such as marriage can "create foundations of safety and trust that support more
frequent experiences of positivity resonance, which over time help each partner become their best."      


Copyright February 16, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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