A few weeks ago we talked about the science of love and how to have more of it. We love often referred to as the “supreme emotion”. It is something that is as necessary for our well-being as anything else.
One more very encouraging fact about the “supreme emotion” is this: it is possible to increase your ability to love. This can be done in a number of ways, and what works best for you may be different from what works for others. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Practice a loving-kindness meditation several times a week.*
- Every evening for at least a week, reflect on the three longest social interactions you had that day. In a notebook or journal, reflect on how “in tune” and how close you felt to other people during these interactions.**
- When others share good news with you, make eye contact; show positive emotion (e.g., smile); make enthusiastic, supportive comments, including about possible positive implications; and ask constructive questions about the event. Be sincere and keep it simple, bearing in mind it may take some practice.*
In some ways, love is a small, fleeting thing, and in our fast-paced, competitive society, it may seem easier to plug in to distractions rather than to foster genuine connection. However, we may have more opportunities to experience this essential emotion in our daily lives than we think and making the most of these can bring a range of remarkable benefits for us and others over time. Finding ways, big and small, to nourish love, these micro-moments of connection, with the people around you may stretch you and will take practice, but they will be worth every effort.
*See https://ggia.berkeley.edu/for these and other exercises to promote connection and compassion
**See tools available at http://positivityresonance.com/
Fredrickson, B. (2013) Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection. New York, NY: The Penguin Group.
Research by: Kayla Clawson Alva