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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Love is a State of Mind, Body, and Spirit

When we struggle in love or when people we love betray our trust, we may literally feel as if our hearts are breaking. We may feel pain or tightness in what yogis call "the heart chakra."  We may feel as if we can barely breathe, and our hearts may pound with anxiety. But what do we really know about love?  Is it a state of passion or a more enduring sense of trust and companionship? And is love really good for our health?  Read on to find out what science can tell us:

Science tells us that love is:

1. A momentary state of empathic and attuned  connection in which people mirror each other's gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and even heart rhythms

2. An enduring state of mind in which we consistently care for the wellbeing of a loved one and share in their joys and sorrows.

3. A state that can only occur when we feel safe and trust enough that our bodies switch off our automatic "fight, flight, freeze, response."

4. A physiological state with hormonal markers, such as release of oxytocin, which occurs during orgasm and breastfeeding.

5.  Like a muscle that grows the more we use it.  When we give care to others, this creates loving feelings and happiness in us as well.

6.   A spiritual state that can be brought about by compassion meditation and mindfulness practice.  It involves your brain's alpha waves firing in a rhythmic way.

7.  A vital component of health and wellbeing which involves connection and caring, not only for our  partners, but for our families, friends, and communities.

A Simple Lovingkindness Meditation

Practice This Exercise Daily to Grow Your Compassion:

Direct these words first to yourself, then to a loved one or mentor, then to a neutral person, then to someone you are having difficulty with:

May You Be Well
May You Be Happy
May You Be Healthy in Mind and Body
May You Find Peace in Your Heart

Copyright: Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. 2013

If you found this post useful, check out my other post Ten Science-Based Facts About Love, which is  #1 today (11/20/13) on Psychology Today's Most Read List.  Check it out, as well as other posts on marriage and parenting in the links below.

About The Author:

Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, and expert on Mindfulness, Managing Anxiety, and Depression, Succeeding at Work,, and Mind-Body Health. Dr Greenberg provides workshops and speaking engagements for your organization and coaching and psychotherapy for individuals and couples

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