Science Has Figured Out How to Fall In And Out Of Love
It's Called Love Regulation
What would you do if you had complete control over your heart? Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article on how to fall in and out of love. Love, the emotion that hits us like a double decker bus and ruins or makes our lives forever, can apparently be mastered.
What Is Love?
The dictionary defines love as an "intense feeling or deep affection."
Siri defines love as your beloved person, a strong positive emotion of regard and affection, a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction.
But for many, love is undefinable. It can be felt the first time you lock eyes on someone. It's a smile. Sometimes it is slowly developed over months or years through trials and tribulations and a deep admiration and respect. It can be unrequited.
For the Psychologists at the University of Missouri, they've proven that love can be created and controlled through precise and deliberate thoughts and actions called "Love Regulation." 40 people, some of whom were in relationships and other's of whom were recently broken hearted, participated in a study where they gazed at photos of their significant other (or ex) in the lab. While doing so, some thought positive things and recalled good memories about their partner. Others the opposite. Unsurprisingly, those who thought well of their partners "reported feeling more attached" while those who recalled negative memories felt less smitten.
Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, explains that "we can, and do, shape and manage our emotions every day, and love is no different."
Positive Thoughts Cause Attachment
Are you in the beginning of a relationship and want to fall in love, or trying to sustain your current relationship? Worried you might be falling out of love, and want to save your relationship or marriage? It's simple: think positive thoughts about your partner. Thinking about your partner's positive traits and all the good times you've had together (like that time he surprised you with flowers) increases the attachment your brain has towards them.
So, spend some time meditating on past memories, photos, or even fantasizing about a fun future together, and you'll soon feel a fondness and endearment towards your partner again.
And if your partner is being bratty, a good time out for your significant other could be sending him to the next room and forcing him to think nice things about you for 10 minutes.
Use This To Fall Out Of Love Faster After A Breakup
If you've ever gone through a breakup, and most likely you have, you've wondered how you can accelerate the process of heartbreak. You've blocked his number, torn up old photos and unfollowed him on all social media. There was even that time you drove past his house and egged it (well, maybe that's just a me thing.)
But the answer could be as simple as thinking negative thoughts. The study at the University of Missouri found that when couples looked at photos of their partner and thought negative thoughts, "they "down regulated" their love, reporting less attachment and infatuation."
If we repeatedly connect a person or object with a negative memory, most likely, we will begin to not feel drawn to said person or object. Think about it: if you're a child and you burn yourself on a hot stove, you will associate that hot stove with pain. Most likely, you won't be returning to that hot stove again. In that same fashion, if we repeatedly and consciously associate our exes with negative memories we might more quickly move on from them--forever.
YES, YOU CAN CREATE THE FEELING OF LOVE
There are certain activities, routines, and behaviors you can do to help foster an environment of love. These include:
- Think positive thoughts
- Engage with your partner
- Have sex
- Letting things go
- Try new things
- Ask questions
Need more info? Let's take a look at each of these behaviors.
THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS
Think of happy memories with your partner. Employ The Secret and imagine a happy future together. Keep a journal chronicling the things you enjoy about your partner or the nice things he does for you. Focus on the good about your partner rather than the bad. Whatever you feed will grow-- do you want it to be the negative thoughts, or the positive ones?
ENGAGE WITH YOUR PARTNER
Make eye contact. Listen intently. Say "I Love you." Leave notes in unexpected places. Get him his favorite meal as a surprise. Hug him in the morning for an extra few seconds. Text him in the middle of the day to let him know you're thinking of him. Feeling thought of and appreciated can do miracles for a relationship, whether it be sustaining or fostering one.
Smiling makes you happier and makes you look happy.
This releases oxytocin and also makes your partner feel desired.
LET IT GO
A great example: "We all have the proverbial sock on the floor—the seemingly small thing our partner does that comes to represent everything wrong in the relationship. Dr. David suggests reminding yourself it is just a sock. Try to pick it up without resentment. This applies to any pet peeve you have about your partner. Your spouse didn't leave the sock on the floor because he doesn't love you. He's just messy. "
TRY NEW THINGS
Trying new activities with your partner creates both trust and attraction. Most likely, this is why they always go cave diving on The Bachelor?
Emotional vulnerability and nakedness fosters intimacy and closeness between partners. So on a first date, and in a relationship, ask your partner questions, even if this causes discomfort. At the end of the day, people just want to feel known and understood.
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