Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your New Pain Relieving Drug: Love

posted by Michele Olson

Good time to take a look at the chemistry of love. Great re-run story this past week on the Sunday Morning CBS news program, previously run on Valentine’s Day.

Have an upcoming medical test, or even dental procedure you’re not thrilled about? Bring along your honey to hold your hand. They are finding that holding a loved one’s hand through uncomfortable procedures works as well as a pain reliever like Acetaminophen. So…love is a drug! (Here’s the UCLA Study)

From the article:
It's better than Tylenol!" said anthropologist Helen Fisher, who has looked at love for years. She says affairs of the heart are often functions of the brain."The brain is built to respond,"

Fisher said. "We are an animal that is built to love. We're built to love." Fisher, with colleagues Bianca Acevedo and Lucy Brown, did brain scans on couples who'd been in love for decades, and found that the sight of your long-time mate triggers the same brain reaction as new love. In simple terms, one of the parts of the brain involved in rewards and cravings - the ventral tegmental area (or VTA) - is flooded with the chemical dopamine when you do something pleasurable (like, say, eat chocolate) or see someone you're in love with . . . no matter how many years you've known them.

But here’s the downside: the part of the brain that makes true love so durable also makes rejection so agonizing. A broken heart really hurts.

So what can you do to stay in love, that “wonderful, pain relieving , gosh it’s wonderful to be alive love“ we all want in our lives? Here’s some advice from the article.

Tara Parker-Pope and her new book "For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage” gives this advice. According to Tara, there's a mathematical ratio that can predict whether love lasts:
5 to 1.
Five positive interactions to every one negative. (Think things like critical comments.)
As Parker-Pope writes:
"A pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand or a 'Honey, you look pretty today' or 'Gosh, I'm proud of you' or 'I like you in that suit.' Those little moments are highly protective of a marriage, and good marriages have them at least on a 5-to-1 basis.

So there you have it.

Fall in love with someone and your brain is going to help you love them as much through the years as you do in the beginning if you are practicing 5 to 1. They can also help you save money on bottles of Tylenol.

Great article! What did you like about it?

Recommendations: Why not take a couple check up which are available for singles, engaged and married people to make sure this is the person you will be happy to be with for the long haul!


Jeffrey Murrah said...

I liked the article on love. There are many articles like this that come out around Valentine's Day. The thing is we need the reminders of what love can do to help us year round. Love truly has many healing and soothing qualities. Scientists are only now understanding how couples program each others brains and the chemistry that transpires in peoples bodies when they interact with their spouse. It is not just a matter of positive thinking, there are actual chemical and bodily changes that occur when couples love each other.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Thanks Jeffrey,
Love is really amazing and yes...we need to remember past Valentine's Day! Appreciate your thoughts, keep blogging!