Today marks the end of this column: A month’s worth of daily hacks to support your well-being in a winter season like no other. As I wind down the series, I’d love to believe the pandemic’s finale is nigh. But alas, that happy ending is still a ways off.
And though I’m a fierce advocate of both hope and optimism, I’ve set my watch to science and patience for the time being, so there I’ll sit (in my upgraded mask) for as long as it takes to arrive at what’s next.
Romantic relationships can up the odds of being happier, living longer, and, according to new research, even help prevent or delay the onset of dementia. That is, of course, if the relationship is good. And increasingly, science shows that one of the keys to a healthy relationship is to pick a happy and optimistic partner.
The latest research on the topic, published in the Journal of Personality, involved up to eight years of data on more than 4,000 heterosexual couples, revealing “a potential link between being married to an optimistic person and preventing the onset of cognitive decline.” …
Love is a feeling often associated with extreme hyperbole: It makes you blind, drives you mad, some even say it feels like being on drugs. It’s not surprising that one of the most intense human emotions is given such dramatic associations. What is surprising is that some of them may not be so exaggerated after all.
Over the past 15 years, scientists and anthropologists have made significant advances in understanding the ways feelings of romantic love affect the brain. What they’ve found so far manages to put scientific merit behind the centuries of folklore.
In the throes of heartache, finding your way back to joy can seem impossible. However, the secret to getting there faster may be in taking control of your neurotransmitters — the brain chemicals that allow your brain cells to send signals and communicate with one another.
The levels and activity of a few key neurotransmitters—namely dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin—play a huge role in how you feel after a breakup. According to renowned anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love, feelings of love and heartbreak are explained by disruptions in these brain chemicals. …
Last month, an NPR story detailed rapper Dessa’s efforts to get over her ex — using science. Inspired by a TED Talk from biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, Dessa told NPR, she used a technique called neurofeedback, which measures brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG) and turns them into visual or audio tones. The idea is that by seeing or hearing what’s happening in your brain, you can retrain your thoughts. In the context of breakups, by heading off constant thoughts about an ex, you could ostensibly speed up the process of getting over them.
After years spent studying the brains of people newly in love, rejected in love, and in long-term love, renowned biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher doesn’t hesitate to equate love and obsession.
“I have come to believe that romantic love is an addiction — a perfectly wonderful addiction when it’s going well and a perfectly horrible addiction when it’s going poorly,” says Fisher. “And indeed it has all the characteristics of addiction: You focus on the person, you obsessively think about them, you crave them, you distort reality.”
Fisher also believes there’s a biological reason people become hopeless romantics. This particular…