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Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

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We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connect We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Finally, she introduces us to informal and formal practices to unlock love in our lives, generate compassion, and even self-soothe. Rare in its scope and ambitious in its message, Love 2.0 will reinvent how you look at and experience our most powerful emotion.


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We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connect We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Finally, she introduces us to informal and formal practices to unlock love in our lives, generate compassion, and even self-soothe. Rare in its scope and ambitious in its message, Love 2.0 will reinvent how you look at and experience our most powerful emotion.

30 review for Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    In a nutshell. This book is about a particular contemplative practice from the Buddhist tradition known as Meta, commonly translated as Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM). Basically, what it entails is intentionally generating kindness and compassion for yourself and others. If you're sensing that this would be a very beneficial thing to do. You'd be right. It is. Particularly given how easy it is for many (if not all of us) to slip into unconscious automatic ultra cranky hater mode if we're not ca In a nutshell. This book is about a particular contemplative practice from the Buddhist tradition known as Meta, commonly translated as Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM). Basically, what it entails is intentionally generating kindness and compassion for yourself and others. If you're sensing that this would be a very beneficial thing to do. You'd be right. It is. Particularly given how easy it is for many (if not all of us) to slip into unconscious automatic ultra cranky hater mode if we're not carful. In case you didn't know, or failed to notice, mammals (particularly people) are essentially hard wired to focus on the negative shit, and pretty much equally biased to blow off, or completely take for granted the positive shit. How often do life's little slights and inconveniences just bug the shit out of you. The salmon is overlooked or the line at Starbucks is kind of slow. And conversely, when's the last time you were overjoyed to have electricity or indoor plumbing. Probably the last time you had to go without it. And what ever joy you felt at having it after an absence was doubtlessly short lived. Don't worry this is absolutely normal. This has to do with our evolutionary conditioning. It's easy to imagine what happened to our less vigilant, more trusting ancestors. Odds are good they didn't ever become ancestors at all. Well, as you may have also noticed. This little trait probably isn't as adaptive as it used to be. In other words, it would probably be safe for most of us to lighten up a little. Maybe even intentionally practice being a little nicer, a little more loving and probably more than a little more compassionate to our selves and each other. That's what LKM is all about. And Barbara Fredrickson's work is all about providing a secular framework and the research data to make this venerable spiritual practice accessible and viable to the contemporary western world. Believe me when I tell you, I'm all for LKM. That is in theory, and some times (more and more all the time) in practice too. I can honestly say I'd be lost without LKM. I'm quite sure I would be (at least) 10% unhappier (probably more) and my poor family members, friends, students and coworkers would probably be ready to banish me from the village if I didn't intentionally (and regularly) restructure some of my more negative cognitions. So that makes my tepid reaction to this book kind of hard to figure. This is a book I wanted to love. I wanted to ya know, like, hashtag love 2.0 it. But I ended up only sorta liking it. It's got some really redeeming moments. But again, I only sorta liked it. Maybe I didn't even like it at times. Maybe it was more like a fart noise 2.0. What can I say. I found it kind of boring and lightweight at times, and ultimately rather unconvincing. I wanted more hard science. Something substantial to anchor all of the claims. There was some stuff about the Vegas nerve but not enough. I think my real beef with the book is that I just didn't connect with the narrative voice. But that's just a guess. Frankly, it's confusing exactly why I'm as lukewarm on it as I am. I have been kicking around Buddhist circles for a long time, and I have subsequently been practicing LKM for years, and at times I actually really appreciate it. But I have always leaned toward the radical acceptance (mindfulness and equanimity) side of contemplative practices and (for some reason) part of me feels kind of fake and new age when I do LKM. Sort of like Al Frankin's character Stuart Smally from SNL. So maybe my mild discomfort with this book is just an expression of this mild discomfort with the whole LKM thing. Or maybe I'm just a hopelessly cranky ol dick (probably that). Or maybe I'm both and more. Or maybe it's just fun as hell to hate on a book called Love 2.0. I don't know, I'm grasping at straws here. Anyway. I think LKM is necessary. I think the whole secular mindfulness thing that's happening right now really needs a dose of LKM as a counterbalance. It's pretty easy to get kind of nihilistic when all you're doing all day is noticing and accepting suffering and impermanence (that's misery and death for those of you unfamiliar with Buddhist euphemisms). But this book isn't going to be my clarion call. Not by a long shot. Perhaps it's just to darn self serious. Maybe someone has to write a similar book in a much less reverent tone in order to get me excited. I love yoga and meditation, but I hate (hella hate) the cliche, wistful, breathy "yoga/meditation voice. I always have. Maybe someone, probably a guy, and not a sensitive new age guy (SNAG) needs to cover this topic in a more sober (more butch) voice in order for me to feel it all the way. And not Noah Lavine please, for gosh sakes. He actually needs to please not write a book on LKM. I can just hear all the tattooed hipster Buddhists spouting off. Just Kill me now please! And if you're about to say read Sharon Salsberg, please just don't. That's worse. Much worse. Much much much worse! Anyway I digress. I'm clearly the one with the issue here. You'll probably love the book. So get it and read it if you're so inclined. Just don't blame me if you feel like you just ate a big nothing burger with heaping healing of fart 2.0 sauce on it. cuz I tried to warn ya!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I love that there is a whole seemingly respectable research lab called PEP at the University of North Carolina that does research on having subjects practice LKM. LKM is short for loving-kindness meditation and I love that it was shortened to LKM. Why, I have no idea, but it is just a quirky thing I love. PEP stands for Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology. And I love that the author takes her earlier positivity psychology further, into the realm of love, in order to make the world a better pl I love that there is a whole seemingly respectable research lab called PEP at the University of North Carolina that does research on having subjects practice LKM. LKM is short for loving-kindness meditation and I love that it was shortened to LKM. Why, I have no idea, but it is just a quirky thing I love. PEP stands for Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology. And I love that the author takes her earlier positivity psychology further, into the realm of love, in order to make the world a better place. I love that she brings in neuropsychiatric research that has changed the way we view the brain and emotions. I love how she makes loving kindness meditation accessible to all, not just Zen Buddhism practitioners. The author says, “love-like all other positive emotions- follows the ancestral logic of broaden and build.” As you practice LKM, and become aware of all the “micro-movements” which are moments of connection between people, you are broadening the energy of those emotions, and then you can be more loving, love more, and be loved more. I love the ancestral and evolutionary view of love, as instinctual and primal, and the biochemical changes in your body and brain were selected and part of each and every one of us. I love that this is a book that unabashedly talks about love in a new way, one I may not agree with wholeheartedly, but that offers a fresh perspective. I doubt anyone would argue with me that while we love rom-coms and romance novels are wildly popular, we are a cynical-about-love society, and all the talk about love makes people uncomfortable, almost like it is taboo to talk about love too much, especially in intellectual terms. And if you mention love, many if not most people think of it in certain preconceived terms: romantic love and familial love, mostly. However, once upon a time, I read M. Scott Peck’s definition of love, and I have never been able to enthusiastically accept any others. He says, “Love is the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth... Love is an act of will -- namely, both an intention and an action.” Oh, and “Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present…” Fredrickson's redefinition of love lacks something, maybe soul, maybe the spaciousness of love, for me. She actually renames love “positivity resonance”, which is fine, cool, I like it, and that means: "shared positive emotions, biobehavioral synchrony and mutual care." I have no arguments with that theory or view. Love tends to be positive on the whole, otherwise it is not love, there is new and ample evidence for the resonance or synchrony in our minds in the form of mirror neurons, and of course, love is a little useless just sitting there without action. What I disagreed with was the portion that if all the requirements weren’t met, love cannot exist. She says positivity resonance, (hence love), “only lasts as long as we two are engaged with one another.” So while she is writing the sentences about how much she loves her husband, she actually does not love him while she is writing them. She may have “affection” and “a bond” with him, but her body is loveless and does not love at those particular moments, only if they are in physical proximity. I disagree. I will agree positivity resonance might not exist in those conditions, but love does. I think she is trying to just expand the definition of love, so that those who talk all the time about falling in and out of love realize how ridiculous it is, but love is so much broader and all-encompassing than even Dr. Peck’s definition of love as a verb, an action. I think it is an emotion and an action, a verb and a noun. I know I love those who are not in my physical presence. Maybe she will invent another term for those feelings, say, when your loved one dies, or when you have to be far away for an extended period of time; she can keep it. I promise when I am thinking of someone I loved who is gone, my body feels a lot of things, grief primarily right now, but there is also sensations of warmth, almost like micro-movements, and my muscles relax, and I feel more connected to the earth, and more aware of the people around me and their non-verbal cues, and if you measure my oxytocin levels, maybe, just maybe, it would be comparable to what she has measured in her PEP lab. Again, I appreciate her perspective, and her chapters on exercising loving kindness meditation as a way to enrich your abilities to positively resonate with others, but even the Scientific American review says her work is short on scientific validity and relies too much on subjective data. The scientist in me who believes in the beauty of love just can’t buy it. By the way, I will never write LKM again, if you can’t take the time to write out loving kindness meditation, then you are missing the point. I wonder what the author would think of my use of "love" so indiscriminately in this review. Love to everyone, and lovingkindness too.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana Faria

    I was very interested to half way through the book with the refreshing neuroscience approach to our behavioral responses and perceptions to love and kindness. Then I quickly felt disenchanted. I just wanted to get it over with and finish the book hoping it would stick to what the first half was like. But that did not happen. I cringed through the remaining chapters all about “looking within myself and turning towards energy in order to find positivity.” Yikes. Not my cup of tea. Not the tea I st I was very interested to half way through the book with the refreshing neuroscience approach to our behavioral responses and perceptions to love and kindness. Then I quickly felt disenchanted. I just wanted to get it over with and finish the book hoping it would stick to what the first half was like. But that did not happen. I cringed through the remaining chapters all about “looking within myself and turning towards energy in order to find positivity.” Yikes. Not my cup of tea. Not the tea I started with it. If this is your tea, take my cup, please.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Websterdavid3

    Parents Magazine and a goodly number of readers “Love Love 2.0”. Thirty seven of forty two [88%] Amazon readers ranked it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. Framing Love 2.0 has groundbreaking theory. It gives us, “a radically new conception of love.”—The Atlantic. “At last we can discuss the science of love…. the relation between self-love and loving others.”Frans de Waal [Writer/Researcher on primates/bonobos’ behavior].. It is also practical. “Using rigorous science, practical exercises, and heartful daily Parents Magazine and a goodly number of readers “Love Love 2.0”. Thirty seven of forty two [88%] Amazon readers ranked it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. Framing Love 2.0 has groundbreaking theory. It gives us, “a radically new conception of love.”—The Atlantic. “At last we can discuss the science of love…. the relation between self-love and loving others.”Frans de Waal [Writer/Researcher on primates/bonobos’ behavior].. It is also practical. “Using rigorous science, practical exercises, and heartful daily life examples, Barbara shows us how to strengthen our capacity to more truly connect to ourselves and others."[spiritual leader] Sharon Salzberg. Dr. Fredrickson, who has twice consulted with the Dalai Lama, is part of a cascade of scientists and spiritual leaders connecting neuro-science and larger-than-me purpose. She teaches that “love is the most supreme among all emotions…” [monk Matthieu Ricard]. Love 2.0 advises us not to put all of our love eggs in one relational basket. It “…drives home the [health] values of being warmhearted…. Love 2.0 is a user-friendly manual for opening our hearts.”—Daniel Goleman [Emotional Intelligence]. What story does this book change? Personally, Love 2.0 confirms my gut feeling that the classical romantic Love story is harmful to actual human beings. Love 2.0 weighs in on the culture wars fought between the Master Narrative of Love and how our bodyminds actually work. Fredrickson asked, “What is love?” and found that there is no true-or-false Love. Like Dan Slater’s Love in the Time of Algorithms and some spiritual traditions, she found that love is as common as dust and easy to create. “So simple, so glorious [schlemiel#32*].” My view is that this Master Narrative-- the narrative promoted by those who seek to be our Masters-- serves to keep us unhappy, unsatisfied, and buying many accessories to find True Love. Au contrair, readers of Love 2.0 learn that the easy form of love: “is contagious,” [ann-reads-it-all]… “changes your biochemistry,” [Deb- Palo Alto]...” literally makes people healthier,” [A.Logan] “… is an action.” [Sean Goh] Fredrickson’s writing teaches us to attend, and love well in humdrum, daily life. This “changes my life.” [Marcel Hochman] Love 2.0 conveys that over-thinking, working hard, and spending money on dating services for romance/connection may not be needed. As MC Yogi sings in Just Love, “if you want love you need to give love away.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpVUi... ] Love 2.0 has its perceived flaws, starting with its techie title. Fredrickson tries to use half of the book to teach readers mindfulness and Loving/Kindness Meditation; this may not be her strength. Juliet begs, “Get this woman an editor.” Love 2.0 mostly succeeds at popularizing Fredrickson’s lab’s work. Yet several readers found it to be a dry textbook, while Raj says it is “too repetitive and touchy feely.” Some reviewers grasp Love 2.0, while also noting “I believe in love…described in the Bible, or as the Greeks defined it.” [Sam] This interesting juxtaposition of Love 2.0 and traditional views points out how each of our Stories of Love is so limbicly central to us and deep-rooted**. No one wants to change her/his own core way-of-being and way-of-doing, even when it might make us happier and more connected. Love 2.0 suggest that we might be rewarded for painful changes. -------------------------------------------------------------- *names not otherwise identified are from public Amazon.com readers’ reviews of Love 2.0. ** See General Theory of Love for a wonderful explanation of the triune brain and how the limbic self trumps the neo-cortex every time. http://positivityresonance.com/index.... is Barbara Fredrickson’s web site. (thank you to Kim Friedman Landau for her guidance)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    ** Loved Love 2.0 ** Appropriately enough, I loved Love 2.0 Redefining love through a fascinating biochemical perspective, Barbara Fredrickson’s Love 2.0 explores the preconditions, biological underpinnings, and health benefits of this “supreme emotion.” Stepping away from the traditional conceptualization of love, Barbara describes love as the result of positivity resonance—which are real-time experiences of literally being in-synch with someone else: “Those micro-moments of positivity resonance ** Loved Love 2.0 ** Appropriately enough, I loved Love 2.0 Redefining love through a fascinating biochemical perspective, Barbara Fredrickson’s Love 2.0 explores the preconditions, biological underpinnings, and health benefits of this “supreme emotion.” Stepping away from the traditional conceptualization of love, Barbara describes love as the result of positivity resonance—which are real-time experiences of literally being in-synch with someone else: “Those micro-moments of positivity resonance you can share with nearly anyone breaks open extraordinary opportunities…Those potent, boundary-blurring and heart-expanding experiences of positivity resonance that you share with others are not merely an academic concept or a poetic flourish… In a moment of positivity resonance, studies show, your awareness automatically expands, allowing you to appreciate more than you typically do. Also quite automatically, your body leans in toward and affirms the other person, and begins a subtle synchronized dance that further reinforces your connection….Before these reverberations fade, they initiate biochemical cascades that help remake who you are, both in body and in mind.” (pp. 162, 183, 86, 185) Yep, love literally changes your biochemistry: “Positivity resonance changes your biochemistry in ways scientists are only just now beginning to grasp. As these moments become more and more typical of your daily experience, they even alter the fundamental rhythms of your heart, increasing your vagal tone, resulting in closer synchronicity between the actions of your heart and the actions of your lungs. High levels of vagal tone, scientists have now firmly shown, are linked not only to greater social attunement but also to more efficient self-regulation and improved physical health. In this way, love and health cocreate each other in your life. At the same time, this reciprocal, upward spiral dynamic between mirco-moments of love and lasting changes in your health forges a path toward your higher spiritual sense of oneness.” (p. 183) After exploring three key biological components of love (brain neural coupling, oxytocin, and the vagus nerve) and the three facets of positivity resonance (shared emotions, biobehavioral synchronicity, and behavioral synchronicity), the remainder of the book shows how to make do-able small changes in your life to yield some big changes on the lovefront—which, in turn can improve your resilience, wisdom, and physical health. (What’s not to love about that?) Upgrade to Love 2.0, and you’ll likely experience love in ways you’ve never expected to before.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    I just couldn't connect with this book. Maybe my expectations were off: I thought it would be about the different types of love (for example, romantic, platonic, familial, etc.), and how to increase the love in your life, or improve your relationships. This was more of a touchy/feely "love the world, and the world will love you back" kind of treatise. Love for Fredrickson is nothing more than momentary connection, so you can have episodes of love with your deli counter clerk, if you share a joke I just couldn't connect with this book. Maybe my expectations were off: I thought it would be about the different types of love (for example, romantic, platonic, familial, etc.), and how to increase the love in your life, or improve your relationships. This was more of a touchy/feely "love the world, and the world will love you back" kind of treatise. Love for Fredrickson is nothing more than momentary connection, so you can have episodes of love with your deli counter clerk, if you share a joke and a smile. While I get the importance of connection, I didn't learn anything new, and it was very generalized and ambiguous information.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Basma

    I feel so bad whenever I buy a book that costs more and I end feeling very "eeeeh" about it and this is one of them. It started off great but then just a bit downhill for me. Overall the writing style made it hard to get through. It wasn't academic writing but I just didn't get along with it and it made a lot of the information presented feel like it was dragging. I preferred the first part of the book more than the second. I feel so bad whenever I buy a book that costs more and I end feeling very "eeeeh" about it and this is one of them. It started off great but then just a bit downhill for me. Overall the writing style made it hard to get through. It wasn't academic writing but I just didn't get along with it and it made a lot of the information presented feel like it was dragging. I preferred the first part of the book more than the second.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lily Gardner

    Barbara Fredrickson takes a unique stand on what love is. She doesn't discount the value of bonding—it's that trust that frees us to be open with one another. But she believes that it's the physical connections—the eye contact, verbal or sexual exchange that are the true instances of love. My take-away from this book is to keep feeding those relationships if you want to love and be loved. Barbara Fredrickson takes a unique stand on what love is. She doesn't discount the value of bonding—it's that trust that frees us to be open with one another. But she believes that it's the physical connections—the eye contact, verbal or sexual exchange that are the true instances of love. My take-away from this book is to keep feeding those relationships if you want to love and be loved.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Sark

    “To you, and to those in whom your love resonates.” p.3 – Longing. You know the feeling. It’s that ache of sensing that something vital is missing from your life; a deep thirst for more. More meaning, more connection, more energy – more something. Longing is that feeling that courses through your body just before you decide that you’re restless, lonely, or unhappy. p.4 – love is the essential nutrient that your cells crave: true positivity-charged connection with other living beings. p.5 – Love “To you, and to those in whom your love resonates.” p.3 – Longing. You know the feeling. It’s that ache of sensing that something vital is missing from your life; a deep thirst for more. More meaning, more connection, more energy – more something. Longing is that feeling that courses through your body just before you decide that you’re restless, lonely, or unhappy. p.4 – love is the essential nutrient that your cells crave: true positivity-charged connection with other living beings. p.5 – Love is not a category of relationships. Nor is it something “out there” that you can fall into, or – years later – out of. Seeing love as a special bond is extraordinarily common, albeit misleading. A bond like this can endure for years – even a lifetime with proper commitment and effort. And having at least one close relationship like this is vital to your health and happiness, to be sure. Even so, that special bond and the commitments people often build around it are better taken as the products of love – the results of the many smaller moments in which love infuses you – rather than as love per se. When you equate love with intimate relationships, love can seem confusing. p.6 – When you limit your view of love to relationships or commitment, love becomes a complex and bewildering thicket of emotions, expectations, and insecurities. Yet when you redirect your eyes toward your body’s definition of love, a clear path emerges that cuts through that thicket and leads you to a better life. I need to ask you to disengage from some of your most cherished beliefs about love as well: the notions that love is exclusive, lasting, and unconditional. These deeply held beliefs are often more wish than reality in people’s lives. They capture people’s daydreams about the love-of-their-life who they’re yet to meet. Love, as your body defines it, is not exclusive, not something to be reserved for your soul mate, your inner circle, your kin, or your so-called loved ones. Love’s reach turns out to be far wider than we’re typically coaxed to imagine. Even so, love’s timescale is far shorter than we typically think. Love, as you’ll see, is not lasting. It’s actually far more fleeting than most of us would care to acknowledge. On the upside, though, love is forever renewable. And perhaps most challenging of all, love is not unconditional. It doesn’t emerge no matter what, regardless of conditions. To the contrary, you’ll see that the love your body craves is exquisitely sensitive to contextual cues. It obeys reconditions. Yet once you understand those preconditions, you can find love countless times each day. p.7 – What I’ve found is that even though you experience positive emotions as exquisitely subtle and brief, such moments can ignite powerful forces of growth in your life. They do this first by opening you up: Your outlook quite literally expands as you come under the influence of any of several positive emotions. p.8 – With this momentarily broadened, more encompassing mind-set, you become more flexible, attuned to others, creative, and wise. Over time, you also become more resourceful. This is because, little by little, these mind-expanding moments of positive emotions add up to reshape your life for the better, making you more knowledgeable, more resilient, more socially integrated, and healthier. In fact, science documents that positive emotions can set off upward spirals in your life, self-sustaining trajectories of growth that lift you up to become a better version of yourself. p.9 – The love you crave lies within momentary experiences of connection. Other concepts that go by the word love in our shared cultural vocabulary – the all-consuming desire, the exclusive bonds, the commitments to loyalty, the unconditional trust – are best viewed as key players within the larger positivity system that surrounds love. […] When you’ve truly connected with someone else, your trust in that person expands, your relationship and loyalty deepen, and you want to spend more good times together. p.10 – although you may subscribe to a whole host of definitions of love, your body subscribes to just one: love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being. p.11 – in Buddhist teachings, loving-kindness is considered one of the four noblest modes of consciousness. p.16 – Yet far beyond feeling good, micro-moments of love, like other positive emotions, literally changes your mind. It expands you awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self. The boundaries between you and not-you – what lies beyond your skin – relax and become more permeable. While infused with love you see fewer distinctions between you and others. Indeed, your ability to see others – really see them, wholeheartedly – springs open. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself. p.17 – Love is connection. p.18 – In a moment of positivity resonance, to some extent, you each become the reflection and extension of the other. p.19 – More than any other positive emotion, then, love belongs not to one person, but to pairs or groups of people. It resides within connections. p.20 – When positivity resonance moves between you and another, for instance, the two of you begin to mirror each other’s postures and gestures, and even finish each other’s sentences. You feel united, connected, of a piece. When you especially resonate with someone else – even if you’ve just met – the two of you are quite literally on the same wavelength, biologically. p.21 – Eye contact is the key that unlocks the wisdom of your intuition because when you meet your smiling coworker’s gaze, her smile triggers activity within your own brain circuitry that allows you to simulate – within your own brain, face, and body – the emotions you see emanating from hers. You now know, through this rapid and non-conscious simulation, more about what it feels like to have smiled like that. p.25 – Love requires you to be physically and emotionally present. It also requires that you slow down. p.35 – Love springs up anytime any two or more people connect over a shared positive emotion. p.45 – Brain coupling, Hasson argues, is the means by which we understand each other. People’s brains come particularly into sync during emotional moments. p.51 – Oxytocin appears both to calm fears that might steer you away from interacting with strangers and also to sharpen your skills for connection. p.53 – The Vagus connects your brain to your body and is also called your vagus nerve (sounds like Las Vegas). It emerges from your brain stem deep within your skull and, although it makes multiple stops at your various internal organs, perhaps most significantly it connects your brain to your heart. p.54 – Scientists can measure the strength of your vagus nerve – your biological aptitude for love – simply by tracking your heart rate in conjunction with your breathing rate. This pattern is called vagal tone. Like muscle tone, the higher your vagal tone, the better. p.55 – That’s because people with higher vagal tone, science has shown, are more flexible across whole host of domains – physical, mental, and social. They simply adapt better to their ever-shifting circumstances, albeit completely at nonconscious levels. p.56 – Just as you can build muscle tone through regular physical exercises, you can build vagal tone through regular emotional exercises. p.58 – By learning how to self-generate love, you can raise your vagal tone. And with higher vagal tone, your attention and actions become more agile, more attuned to the people in your midst. You become better able to forge the interpersonal connections that give rise to positivity resonance. Through vagal tone, then, love begets love. p.59 – This is how, over time, chronic feelings of loneliness can weaken people’s immune systems and open the door to inflammation-based chronic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease and arthritis. The data go further to suggest that feeling isolated or unconnected to others does more bodily damage than actual isolation, suggesting that painful emotions drive the bodily systems that in turn steer you toward dire health outcomes. p.61 – The new science of love makes it clear that your body acts as a verb. Sure enough, some aspects of your body remain relatively constant day in and day out, like your DNA or your eye color. But your brain continually registers your ever-changing circumstances and in turn orchestrates the flux of biochemical that reshape your body and brain from the inside out, at the cellular level. Your body takes action. p.63 – So far I have urged you to look at love differently, to envision and appreciate it from your body’s perspective, as micro-moments of positivity resonance. p.65 – Huxley’s hypothesis that the doors of perception can temporarily swing open wider than usual – even seemingly spontaneously – is now confirmed by brain imaging experiments. Importantly, however, you don’t need drugs, hypnosis, or lofty spiritual experiences to open those doors. Sometimes all it takes is a little positivity. Negative emotions narrowed people’s perception, reflected by significantly reduced blood flow within the PPA (parahippocampal place area). p.66 – When feeling good, these data suggest, you can’t help but pick up more of the contextual information that surrounds you. p.67 – As positive emotions open your doors of perception, you become better equipped to connect with other. Your mind’s typical modus operandi, after all, is to be rather self-centered. Self-absorption can become ever more extreme when you feel threatened in some manner. p.75 – Two ways to fortify your intimate relationships, then, are to bring your own good news home to share, and to celebrate your partner’s good news. Regardless of who initiates, the key is to connect to create a shared experience, one that allows positivity to resonate between you for a spell, momentarily synchronizing your gestures and your bio-rhythms and creating the warm glow of mutual care. p.77 – By and large, your protective armor works well. It shields you from routine emotional blows and keeps you from crumbling into self-pity or otherwise becoming devastated by negativity. Yet this sort of self-protection comes at a price. It can shield you from the especially good stuff as well. Yet your ability to share these good feelings with others is compromised. Put differently, in making yourself bulletproof you may also numb yourself to possibilities for true connection. Being less able to connect, in turn, shuts you and your body out from registering and creating opportunities for positivity resonance, which are both life-giving and health-conferring. The psychological habits of resilient people – the ones who, when faced with emotional storms, bend without breaking and bounce back to weather the next storm even better equipped than they were for the last. Resilient people, our studies have shown, are emotionally agile. They neither steel themselves against negativity, nor wallow in it. Instead, they meet adversity with clear eyes, superbly attuned to the nuances of their ever-changing circumstances. p.78 – What allows resilient people to be so agile? As I detailed in Positivity, their agility stems from their steady diet of positive emotion. Resilient people come to better register and appreciate the larger contexts of life, which allows them to respond to emotional upsets with more perspective, flexibility, and grace. p.82 – Resilient people have what scientists call “expertise in the fundamental pragmatics of life.” They judiciously draw on their past experiences and values to arrive at practical and fitting courses of action for themselves and others in nearly any situation. They not only grasp the human condition and the meaning of life but are also able to translate these lofty philosophical insights into down-to-earth plans and advice. Wise people, studies show, are especially discerning because they are able to see holistically and integrate seemingly contradictory perspectives to achieve balance and well-being in everyday life. Your awareness narrows with negative emotions and broadens with positive ones. Your wisdom, then, ebbs and flows just as your emotions do. Positivity resonance allows you access to the wisdom of your past experiences and, more generally, makes you intellectually sharper. Spend just ten minutes in pleasant conversation with someone else and your performance on a subsequent IQ test gets a boost. p.84 – Research shows that simply imagining having a conversation with them is as good as actually talking with them. So consult the in your mind. Ask them what advice they’d offer. In this way, a cherished parent or mentor, even if deceased, leaves you with an inner voice that guides you though challenging times. Your past moments of love and connection make you lastingly wiser. Yet just as a steady diet of a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables does indeed make you healthier, so does a steady diet of a wide range of loving moments. p.91 – “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” (Ursula K.Le Guin) p.110 – Love is not simply something you stumble or fall into. While love can certainly catch you by surprise, like a sudden rain, unlike the weather, you can also seed and cultivate the conditions for love all on your own. Slow down and prepare your own heart and mind to be truly open to others. p.113 – The old saying tells us that we can’t love others unless we first love ourselves. It’s true. Even though love is defined throughout this book as moments of positivity shared between and among people, the positivity shared between knower and known – between I and me – provides a vital foundation for all other forms in positivity, before we can freely enjoy the many other fruits of positivity resonance that we can share with others. p.114 – your happiness hinges on whether others treat you in just the right way, or show you the proper form of respect by turning a blind eye to your shortcomings. In truth, self-aggrandizement is often a defense – a protective armor donned to cover up a more negative view of self. It can be self-diminishment in disguise. p.137 – Loving is a skill. It takes practice. When you set the goal of learning to love yourself, you’ll find ever-present opportunities to practice this new skill, because you’re never further than arm’s reach. Just like all forms of positivity resonance, however, self-love first requires safety and connection. Beating yourself up with the continual harshness of self-criticism is no way to make yourself feel safe in your own company. A true friend, after all, is the one who tells you the truth. He or she affirms you realistically and often, and yet does not abandon you or grow silent when a negative assessment is prudent. Creating a sense of safety within your own skin is just the same. To access self-love, disengage from harshness in your self-talk, but not from reality. Affirm your positive qualities, but refrain from delusion and self-deception. Be your own compassionate truth-teller. p.138 – Practice standing by your own side during hard times, with openness and goodwill, and you’ll appreciate the steady security self-love offers you. It safeguards you from plunging into despair. Yet when you practice and bank self-love, you become rich with emotional reserves. You’re more able to recognize sources of goodness in others, to see and fulfill others’ yearnings to connect, no matter their circumstances.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Wow, what an eye opening book. I would have thought love would be a hard thing to study scientifically but with brain scanning technology it apparently can be studied objectivly. The author redefines love as as "positivity resonance" between two people. This resonance can occur with anyone, anytime. She introduces practices and meditations like the Buddhist "Loving Kindness Meditation" (which is just beautiful) to help you unlock your potential to experience this resonance. One thing she said th Wow, what an eye opening book. I would have thought love would be a hard thing to study scientifically but with brain scanning technology it apparently can be studied objectivly. The author redefines love as as "positivity resonance" between two people. This resonance can occur with anyone, anytime. She introduces practices and meditations like the Buddhist "Loving Kindness Meditation" (which is just beautiful) to help you unlock your potential to experience this resonance. One thing she said that struck me was that the old concept of love where you can only experience it with one, predesignated "one" is like pouring concrete on a garden full of flower bulbs. One or two might push their way through the cracks and bloom, but the odds are stacked against it. Also what struck me is that love might actually affect how your genes are expressed, they're measuring RNA in the bloodstream after loving kindness meditation and finding out that it affects your health. What a great book. The only quibble I might have is the dry scientific tone it takes from time to time for such an emotional thing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean Goh

    Love is not a zero-sum game, anyone can be the other side of positivity resonance. Fredrickson makes a compelling case for love being an action, with deep physiological effects most have never thought of. Limiting our conception of love to the 'one and only soulmate' is a limiting yet prevalent social limiting belief holding many back from authentic connection with others in general. Learning to love from others makes your love for the special people in your life that much more significant. Love is not a zero-sum game, anyone can be the other side of positivity resonance. Fredrickson makes a compelling case for love being an action, with deep physiological effects most have never thought of. Limiting our conception of love to the 'one and only soulmate' is a limiting yet prevalent social limiting belief holding many back from authentic connection with others in general. Learning to love from others makes your love for the special people in your life that much more significant.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Taylor

    Love 2.0 changing the context in which we view love. The author uses body science to recast love as micro moments of positivity resonance, opportunities for which arise constantly throughout the day with multiple people. The science is here basically a wrap around for a book on the benefits of Metta (Loving Kindness Meditation). I appreciate the mixture of science and spirituality.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vassilena

    The first part was great, with detailed info about the physiological aspects of love. Part II is geared towards people looking for enlightenment and self-help, which definitely isn't me. Not a bad book - just not my type of book. The first part was great, with detailed info about the physiological aspects of love. Part II is geared towards people looking for enlightenment and self-help, which definitely isn't me. Not a bad book - just not my type of book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Everard Griffith

    I have read so much about "love" being a minister in the United Church for 50 years, but I keep being drawn back to the topic, especially in a world that does not seem to mind lies and violence as a way of being successful. What was different about this book is it talks about the science of love. By that the author means focusing on our physical response to positive feelings as a way of being healthy and mentally resilient. She coins the word "positivity resonance". The first part of the book i I have read so much about "love" being a minister in the United Church for 50 years, but I keep being drawn back to the topic, especially in a world that does not seem to mind lies and violence as a way of being successful. What was different about this book is it talks about the science of love. By that the author means focusing on our physical response to positive feelings as a way of being healthy and mentally resilient. She coins the word "positivity resonance". The first part of the book is theory and evidence and the second part is practice. The 2.0 part is taking the definition of love to the next level which she says is beyond the simple feeling of connection to a basic bonding instinct in the human being. She shows how love nourished the body and soul and expands our sense of self and our awareness. It expands our ability to move beyond boundaries and limitations to grow the human species in to a new consciousness. Those may be my words, but that is what I hear. In the second part of the book she uses Loving Kindness Meditations as a way of practicing loving others and ourselves. I could go on and on about this book but if I do that I would not know where to stop there is so much good information for people to want to be more loving. It is really an antedote to the "me" generation or era that has led us to the brink of disaster and maybe even demise. We have to make a decision soon to either expand our ability to work together as a human race (love) or to keep trying to live by the creed of greed and me-first. Barbara would say that love is in our DNA but we can choose to override that instinct to get more money, toys, land, or whatever.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This book came recommended from an edx.org class I took. Since I loved the class, I figured this book would be a win… I agreed with many aspects of this novel: loving kindness meditation can increase compassion, empathy, well-being, and a boatload of other benefits; love isn’t a constant state but shifts and changes; the social norm of the “one and only soul mate” is extremely limiting; mindfulness can improve physical and mental health, reduce rumination, and increase relationship satisfaction. This book came recommended from an edx.org class I took. Since I loved the class, I figured this book would be a win… I agreed with many aspects of this novel: loving kindness meditation can increase compassion, empathy, well-being, and a boatload of other benefits; love isn’t a constant state but shifts and changes; the social norm of the “one and only soul mate” is extremely limiting; mindfulness can improve physical and mental health, reduce rumination, and increase relationship satisfaction. However, I just couldn’t connect with this book. I see love as a deep connection, as a commitment to stay with someone even if, at that very moment, there isn’t love. Fredrickson’s definition of love lacks the breadth of love I’ve experienced, witnessed, and learned about. She talks about love as this synchronicity of two minds, which I agree with. What I’m uncomfortable with is how momentary she states these periods of positive resonance are, and that anyone can experience positive resonance—a linking of the minds—with another person, even with a stranger. It’s challenging to imagine a mother having the same level of positive resonance with a grocery store clerk as she would her child.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Silas

    In this book, the author redefines love as a positive emotion shared between two people. While I don't have an issue with defining that as love, I do find that it is a significant change from love as it is conceived by most people, and that it is unlikely to catch on. Still, I think the idea has merit. This conception of love is a lot like the Buddhist idea of loving kindness, and since a large portion of the book is a series of loving kindness meditations, that is not terribly surprising. Those In this book, the author redefines love as a positive emotion shared between two people. While I don't have an issue with defining that as love, I do find that it is a significant change from love as it is conceived by most people, and that it is unlikely to catch on. Still, I think the idea has merit. This conception of love is a lot like the Buddhist idea of loving kindness, and since a large portion of the book is a series of loving kindness meditations, that is not terribly surprising. Those meditations weren't anything I hadn't seen before, but it did remind me just how powerful those techniques can be. There is something to be said for viewing love as a present-tense verb that is not limited to romantic or filial love, but I think to define love solely as that positive interaction ignores some very positive aspects of those relationships. I also found it somewhat troubling how the author didn't recognize that you can have loving interactions with things that are not humans, like animals, or even geographic locations. It felt a bit limiting, which took a star off for me, but was an interesting and engaging book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian Nwokedi

    The aim of the mindfulness practices within this book is to condition your heart to be more comfortable and familiar with warm and tender sentiments. Like most of us, I always assumed that love was simply a feeling, but Fredrickson reminds us that love is a verb. And we have the power to increase our ability to experience and give love more frequently in our lives! As humans, we have hardwired habits of scanning current circumstances for sources of danger and negativity, and these hardwired trait The aim of the mindfulness practices within this book is to condition your heart to be more comfortable and familiar with warm and tender sentiments. Like most of us, I always assumed that love was simply a feeling, but Fredrickson reminds us that love is a verb. And we have the power to increase our ability to experience and give love more frequently in our lives! As humans, we have hardwired habits of scanning current circumstances for sources of danger and negativity, and these hardwired traits are a big reason why we have survived many millennia on this Earth. And because of this, it can be very hard for us to assume positive intent in our daily interactions with other people. In this book, Fredrickson reminds us that our lives get better and better as we open ourselves up and experience positive emotions. So going forward, I will make an active effort to live the verb of love in my life. It is important to understand that we humans adapt to all things. So even the most potent emotion-eliciting stimulus like love can fade into the background.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    The good: this book has a positive, universal message that all can benefit from, and it's an incredibly easy read. It would be a great introduction to the Buddhist concepts of lovingkindness and metta meditation for those who have never heard of either. I particularly enjoyed the framing of love as a series of mutually positive moments of connection with others ("positivity resonance"). The bad: This book took too many words to say very little. After listening to the author on a podcast I got th The good: this book has a positive, universal message that all can benefit from, and it's an incredibly easy read. It would be a great introduction to the Buddhist concepts of lovingkindness and metta meditation for those who have never heard of either. I particularly enjoyed the framing of love as a series of mutually positive moments of connection with others ("positivity resonance"). The bad: This book took too many words to say very little. After listening to the author on a podcast I got the impression that this book would be full of actual data and would appeal to science and research wonks. Unfortunately this book was quite the opposite- the bulk of it consists of lengthy anecdotes the author uses to slowly circle around the point. The research it does contain seems flimsy at best, and doesn't always seem to support the conclusions the author claims it does. I can see how some people could get a lot out of this book, but it wasn't for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Defines love as not a state of being (like “I’m in love”) but moments of positive connection. Meaning love must constantly be renewed, re-created, re-entered. I don’t totally buy her strict definition of love, but I love (har) the idea of being able to create real love through moments of connection, even the fleeting ones. What a great way to think of our daily interactions! And this gives me focus and motivation in making sure my children are receiving a steady diet of love (moments of positive Defines love as not a state of being (like “I’m in love”) but moments of positive connection. Meaning love must constantly be renewed, re-created, re-entered. I don’t totally buy her strict definition of love, but I love (har) the idea of being able to create real love through moments of connection, even the fleeting ones. What a great way to think of our daily interactions! And this gives me focus and motivation in making sure my children are receiving a steady diet of love (moments of positive connection). She makes a good case for doing Loving Kindness Meditation and offers simple ways to do it. I’m going to start putting my mind on this as I fall asleep at night and as I wake up in the morning. But this also feeds into my desire lately to improve the quality of my prayers—because isn’t prayer the ultimate LKM?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    I thought it was interesting the way Fredrickson talks about the science of love, the measurable data that can be tied to feelings and experiences of love and to human capacity to love. I found at times that I had a hard time reading the book because of the language she used and her style throughout her writing. At times it felt limiting and sublime in the childhood storybook kind of way where you want to believe it but know it's a tale for children. I felt that way even as I knew there was data I thought it was interesting the way Fredrickson talks about the science of love, the measurable data that can be tied to feelings and experiences of love and to human capacity to love. I found at times that I had a hard time reading the book because of the language she used and her style throughout her writing. At times it felt limiting and sublime in the childhood storybook kind of way where you want to believe it but know it's a tale for children. I felt that way even as I knew there was data, experiments, and procedure and protocol behind the data that supported her conclusions. Despite this challenge, I think it worth thinking about love in this way, taking an active approach to improving how we love and what we expect from love, through loving kindness meditation as one suggestion, and through others.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tim S

    First half is a fascinating review of the science of the feeling of love. In this definition, love is about shared experiences and the firing of mirror neurons, meaning it can be experienced even in situations with strangers. In the lonely year of 2020, it was quite helpful to keep in mind that there are more opportunities to experience love than I thought. The second half of the book contains exercises around practicing loving kindness meditation. It's been very helpful to apply to my life, and First half is a fascinating review of the science of the feeling of love. In this definition, love is about shared experiences and the firing of mirror neurons, meaning it can be experienced even in situations with strangers. In the lonely year of 2020, it was quite helpful to keep in mind that there are more opportunities to experience love than I thought. The second half of the book contains exercises around practicing loving kindness meditation. It's been very helpful to apply to my life, and I try to do so twice a week. The exercises started to feel repetitive at a certain point and I did lose interest without completely finishing the second half.

  22. 5 out of 5

    AnaMaria Rivera

    A scientific book about love and loving that brings laboratory evidence on the power and effects of love and a life of practicing love and includes daily practices and meditations to enhance our capacity for loving. Very nice. "Yet far beyond feeling good, a micro-moment of love, like other positive emotions, literally changes your mind. It expands your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self. The boundaries between you and not-you—what lies beyond your skin—relax and become more A scientific book about love and loving that brings laboratory evidence on the power and effects of love and a life of practicing love and includes daily practices and meditations to enhance our capacity for loving. Very nice. "Yet far beyond feeling good, a micro-moment of love, like other positive emotions, literally changes your mind. It expands your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self. The boundaries between you and not-you—what lies beyond your skin—relax and become more permeable. While infused with love you see fewer distinctions between you and others."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Interesting perspective about the supreme emotion supported by lots of references to studies done by both the author and others. Kind of like the notion that love is capapble in all connections we make with others and I also like the we can become more receptive to receive love in our lives. Interesting read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tal179

    I enjoyed this book and found the research interesting and will probably try some of the practices mentioned in it. It was a bit of a slow read and I wasn't so engaged by the writing which is why I'm not giving it more stars but I did learn from it and hope to implement some of the positivity and love practices in my life. I enjoyed this book and found the research interesting and will probably try some of the practices mentioned in it. It was a bit of a slow read and I wasn't so engaged by the writing which is why I'm not giving it more stars but I did learn from it and hope to implement some of the positivity and love practices in my life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Garvin

    An insightful look at what love truly is. This book helped me see love even more clearly. Love is not only available to those who are near and dear. It can extend around the globe. A hopeful look. I especially appreciated how Fredrickson shared how she has brought more love into her daily life while being both an introvert and a workaholic.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Willis

    The book started off well with the idea that love is more than just the idealized, fictionalized stuff that makes up romance novels. The last half gets into the techniques of meditation to help you increase your feelings of love to those around you, which didn't resonate with me. It was harder to finish the book but it isn't that long anyway. The book started off well with the idea that love is more than just the idealized, fictionalized stuff that makes up romance novels. The last half gets into the techniques of meditation to help you increase your feelings of love to those around you, which didn't resonate with me. It was harder to finish the book but it isn't that long anyway.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gilberto Yarritu Vargas

    Good book, with just the right amount of references (Should I say minimum?) to reinforce the idea 'this is science'. Western atheists/agnostics/non-practicing Christians are discovering Buddhism and spiritual care in general. Soon, they will find God and write a book about the science of the Ten Commandments or the relevance of Leviticus for everyday life. Good book, with just the right amount of references (Should I say minimum?) to reinforce the idea 'this is science'. Western atheists/agnostics/non-practicing Christians are discovering Buddhism and spiritual care in general. Soon, they will find God and write a book about the science of the Ten Commandments or the relevance of Leviticus for everyday life.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Lindsey

    What a great read. So many concepts to take into account in the general direction of love, positivity and compassion to help us to access greater enjoyment and higher states of consciousness. Could have used some more editing and refinement with some practical stories but an excellent work. Thank you again Barbara Fredrickson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sequoia

    The idea about "what is love" is refreshing and interesting: it's the infinite micro-resonance between people. The research part is interesting, too. Then it goes on just talking about meditation non-stop. I believe in her; meditation certainly helps. It's just then, to what extent? A discussion about that would feel more complete. The idea about "what is love" is refreshing and interesting: it's the infinite micro-resonance between people. The research part is interesting, too. Then it goes on just talking about meditation non-stop. I believe in her; meditation certainly helps. It's just then, to what extent? A discussion about that would feel more complete.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I enjoyed this book and will continue to try and use the associated online tools. This book did seem verbose, esp the second portion of the book. The chapters could have been shorter to convey their main point.

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