All you need is love! That is what we are used to hearing. And of course romance, you need that too, along with sexual desire or that special bond you have with your family or your partner; lasting and unconditional love. Now forget about all of that, because the scientists are here to tell us what love really is to our body: a micro-moment of connection shared with another. And when they say ‘another’ they are not referring only to our loved ones.
Everyone around us can be part of the experience of micro-moment connection. To limit yourself to a group of people is severely constraining your opportunities for health, growth and wellbeing, because in reality you can experience what scientists call love with anyone, even a stranger.
Emotions are private, hidden deep inside; they are felt in our skin and are a part of our brain. Evidence suggests that when you feel the butterflies in your stomach, the real connection emerges between the two people with gestures and biochemistry and respective neural firings. Scientists want us to know that love is a biological wave of good feeling and mutual care that flows through our brains and bodies at once. And it might start with eye contact as our bodies have a built-in ability to “catch” the emotions and so make prospects for love – defined as micro-moments of positivity resonance – nearly limitless.
It is not surprising to find out that decades of research have shown more sociable people live longer and healthier lives. Precisely how social life affects health is still a mystery. However they tried something else. They have assigned a group of people to learn ways to create more micro-moments of love in daily life and have come to realize that is how we lastingly improve the function of the ‘vagus nerve’ – a key conduit that connects your brain to your heart. This proves how micro-moments of love serve as nutrients for our health.
Another piece of research in progress is trying to find out whether daily love micro moments help to build a healthier immune system. Is it just the DNA? It seems that genes get expressed depending on many factors, starting with how you consider yourself to be – socially connected or chronically lonely. Even though the micro-moment experience is almost instant, its effects are lasting, influencing our health positively. Love begets love by improving your health. And health begets health by improving your capacity for love.
One of the most hopeful things the scientists have learned is that when people take just a minute or so each day to think about whether they felt connected and attuned to others, they initiate a cascade of benefits. Love, love, love!