You can fall in and out of love every day, and experience the benefits of brief moments of “positivity resonance,” just by being open to other people. Via the Atlantic:
Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions, presents scientific evidence that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting yearning and passion that characterizes young love or sustains a marriage; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.
Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store.
Fredrickson writes, “Thinking of love purely as romance or commitment that you share with one special person—as it appears most on earth do—surely limits the health and happiness you derive” from love.
Unlike some of the other positive emotions, like joy or happiness, love cannot be kindled individually—it only exists in the physical connection between two people. Specifically, there are three players in the biological love system—mirror neurons, oxytocin, and vagal tone. Each involves connection and each contributes to those micro-moment of positivity resonance that Fredrickson calls love.
Read the rest at the Atlantic