February is the month when people celebrate Valentine’s Day, love stories and love songs and sentiments of the heart. Most people are too restrictive in the way they think about love. It tends to be reserved primarily for, say, a romantic partner, a parent, child or long-time friend. Perhaps there is another way to celebrate the heart that involves listening to what it says and thereby appreciate love from a different angle. Scientific research into how the heart and body experiences love tells us the following:
Love can be defined as a tiny moment of connection shared with another person. So you can share the feeling of love with a number of people.
Love is a biological wave of good feeling and mutual care that rolls through two or more brains and bodies at once. So love connections can happen between soul mates and between strangers. Our bodies have an in-built ability to “catch” the emotions of those around us as long as the two people make eye-contact. So meeting eyes is a key door keeper for experiencing harmony. Love strengthens the connection between your brain and your heart, making you healthier. The heart and body experience love and compassion as one and the same thing. So showing kindness, understanding and sympathy to others is another way for your heart and body to experience love.
The capacity to love is like a muscle and whether it shrinks or grows depends on how much exercise it gets.
So how can you increase your ability to love more often so that you can feel positive emotions and feelings of connection with others as well as improve your brain to heart connection to feel healthier? You might like to try the following two approaches:
- Each night for several weeks, set aside a few minutes to review your day and consider chance meetings and interactions you had with others.
- Focus on the three longest and ask yourself, Did I feel “in tune” with the other person? Did I feel a closeness to him/her?
- Rate these statements from 1 (not true at all) to 10 (very true).
- Record your self-ratings in a notebook or on your computer.
For a more active approach, make it your intention to connect more fully with three people in the course of each day. You can’t force such moments to happen, but you can slow down, pay attention to those you meet and look for opportunities to share positive feelings even with a friendly ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’
- In any situation where it seems natural, smile, make eye contact and really listen to the other person.
- Try to think of her/his good qualities.
- Offer a favour if appropriate.
- Then sit back and think about how the above approaches made you feel better or simply notice that you feel better.
Feeling connected and feeling love according to science, does not depend on Valentine’s Day, so everyone can love anytime, anywhere, anyplace, just go ahead and make those tiny moments of conenctions.