Chemistry of Love
Which chemistry of love are you seeking information about?
There are a couple of love chemistries to talk about, one for infatuation, which is what Helen Fisher,Ph.D., has studied and written about, and the other is what might grow out of infatuation, an enduring love chemistry.
When two people are attracted to each other, their brains experience a virtual explosion of adrenaline-like neurochemicals . You want to enhance the flow of information between neurons at this moment by eating dark chocolate for phenylethylamine.
Also, involved in infatuation love chemistry are dopamine and norepinephrine, chemical cousins of amphetamines. Dopamine makes us feel good and norepinephrine stimulates the production of adrenaline, which makes our heart beat faster. More on the role of the heart in love chemistry later.
These three chemicals combine to give us infatuation or "chemistry." It is why new lovers feel euphoric and energized, and float on air.
At this stage of chemistry love, the chemistry is the goal.
It is Mother Nature's tool to get us close enough to propagate the species, and stay close enough for long enough to enhance the survival chances for the child.
However, psychologically, we may have infatuation with someone who is not our best choice for long term love chemistry, and almost all of us who experience this powerful brain chemistry will experience some pain from a poor choice of partners or from the sudden disappearance of love chemistry, leaving us to wonder how we got where we ended up.
Anyone who has experienced this chemistry can be drawn to recreate it, and perhaps even become addicted to it, and cycle through it many times in a life.
If we have had infatuation love chemistry with a wise choice, there is an excellent chance that we can develop an entirely different and much more mature brain chemistry, one based on hormones and neurotransmitters like vasopressin, endorphins, and phenylethylamine, from dark chocolate.
Unlike the chemistry of infatuation, the chemistry of mature love has to be tended to. This second chemistry has to do with bonding and calm attachment, and Robert Epstein,Ph.D. proposes that we ought to engage in some structured practices as couples to enhance our love chemistry.
For example, Epstein prescribes exercises like 'soul gazing' and 'heart beat synchronization' and John Gottman,Ph.D, who has studied couples for what works for 30 years, has put together a workshop called The Art and Science of Love, which walks couples through a curriculum of exercises, beginning with "Discovering Your Partners Love Map", a quiz that couple do together.
I believe that regular brief exercises like these are very important in keeping chemistry love flowing strongly.
Helen Fisher,Ph.D. who has studied romantic love, which is much more akin to the infatuation love chemistry mentioned above, suggests that we can move effectively from one chemistry to the next by making sure we begin love chemistry with a compatible personality type.
Her work suggests that humans fall into four broad types, each goverened by a different hormone or neurotransmitter, and that infatuation love chemistry can grow into mature love chemistry effectively by beginning with that compatible type.
To find many matches, you will need to check out Chemistry.com, where Fisher is the Chief Scientific Officer. While you may not always get that explosion of infatuation at Chemistry.com, you will have many more compatible matches to get to know.
One of the reasons I was so excited to read about Epstein's ideas was his mention of the heart beat synchronization exercise.
I have used a wonderful tool called Heartmath which is a computerized heart rate variability biofeedback tool, to teach couples that their relationship has a heart beat, which can be physically demonstrated. You can see it on computer screens.
Heartmath is based on another of those recent discoveries, that the heart has its own sophisticated nervous system, a brain if you will, which can learn and make decisions independently of any other brain I have.
That brain is cooperative and affiliative and calming, which could help me sustain a mature chemistry of love, or mediate an infatuation.
Heartmath teaches me quickly and efficiently how to move my body into heart rate coherence, and as I learn that process, I also learn how fast I move out of coherence.
Partners using Heartmath can learn how dynamic love chemistry is, and how powerfully the brain chemistry is impacted by the heart beat.
It turns out that the heart has a huge impact on how my brain operates, and if I learn to manage my heart's coherence, I just my make some wiser choices about chemistry love.
To check out Heartmath, click the link below for video tutorials and purchase information. It turns out that this kind of relaxation actually opens the higher perceptual centers in my brain, for better test taking, even better golf shooting.
There is a link to the Heartmath tool in the right column.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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