What Love Does to Your Brain

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Feeling Positive

couplesmashHow Love Lights You Up
When you’re in love your eyes light up, your face lights up and so do four tiny portions of your brain.

Neurobiologists Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of University College in London used MRI brain scans to peer into the brains of college students in the throes of that crazed, can’t-think-of-anything-else stage of early romantic love.

When the subjects were shown photographs of their sweet hearts, the MRI images showed that four parts of their brains lit up.

The researchers compared the MRI images to brain scans taken from people in different emotional states, including se.xual arousal, feelings of happiness and coc.aine-induced euphoria.

But the pattern for romantic love was unique. Interestingly, looking at a picture of their loved one also reduced activity in three portions of the brain active when one is upset or depressed.

Is Love Addictive?
When you fall in love your skin flushes, you breathe heavy, and your palms tend to sweat.

Why? Because your brain is experiencing a biochemical rush of dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine close chemical cousins to amphetamines.

But it’s easy to build up a tolerance to these stimulating bio-chemicals. Then, as with any other tolerance, it takes more of the substance to get that special feeling of infatuation.

Some neuroscientists theorize that folks who jump from one relationship to another are hooked on the intoxication of falling in love.

But interestingly, in the case of enduring romance, simply the presence of one’s partner stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good biochemicals also behind the experience of runner’s high, and are natural pain-killers.

The Biology of Romance
Recent research suggests that romantic attraction is actually a primitive, biologically based drive just like hunger or thirst.

The biology of romance helps account for why we might travel cross-country for a single ki.ss, and plunge into hopeless despair if our beloved turns from us. It’s the drive for romance that enables us to focus on one particular person, although we often can’t explain why.

What we’re seeing here is the biological drive to choose a mate, to focus on one person to the exclusion of all others, claims Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University.

Research has proven that romantic attraction activates portions of the brain with high concentrations of receptors for dopamine, Fisher explains. And dopamine is the chemical messenger also tied to states of euphoria, craving and addiction.

Other scientific studies have linked high levels of dopamine and a related agent, norepinephrine to heightened attention and short-term memory, hyperactivity, sleeplessness and goal-oriented behavior.

Sound like love?

When they first fall in love, Fisher explains, couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: Increased energy, less need for sleep or food, and highly focused attention.

The Psychology of Love
Poets and song writers have long claimed that the power of the biochemical state we call romantic love is enough to blind one’s judgment.

We all know how new lovers tend to idealize their partner magnifying their virtues, and explaining away their flaws.

But though love may be blind, take hope.

Pamela Regan, a Cal State LA researcher, believes such idealization may be crucial to a long-term relationship. If you don’t sweep away the person’s flaws to some extent, you’re just as likely to end a relationship, she claims.

This at least gives you a chance, Regan feels. If you think of romantic attraction as a kind of drug that alters how you think, then in this case it’s allowing you to take some risks you wouldn’t otherwise take.

Not a bad thing.

But if passionate romance is like a drug, as the MRI images suggest, then it’s bound to lose its kick. But perhaps viewing romance as a biologically based, drug-like state can at least provide some balm for a broken heart.

Healthy Romanticizing
In a 1996 experiment, psychologists at the State University of New York at Buffalo followed a group of 121 dating couples. Every few months the couples answered questionnaires to find out how much they idealized their partner, and how well their relationship was doing.

The researchers discovered that the couples who idealized each other the most were closest one year later.

The Issue of Self-Love
How does the love of one’s self  also known as a positive self concept or good self-esteem fit into this picture?

Recent research indicates that depressed people who feel ‘unloved’ are 50% more likely to get cancer.

Negativity, fear, anger and depression are not just in your head. They are biochemical states. Remember neuroscience has proven beyond a doubt that we can consciously create the biochemical states known as joy, happiness, motivation, and even ecstasy.

Get Mad and Get Going

May 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Life Mastery

catincircleFeel like your life is stuck in a rut and going in circles? Maybe the time has come to put some powerful e-motion to work.

Emotion is actually one of the most powerful energies we humans have. It IS literally mental energy in motion. And certain emotions are so powerful they can instantly change your life.

What human emotions have such power? Anger and love especially when fueled by the fire of passion intense e-motion.

Not much needs to be said about the ability of passionate love to change your life overnight. But how about passionate anger? Although passionate anger can be very powerful, its energy is not really bad or good. It is simply energy in motion.

Actually it is what you choose to DO with your anger that makes it a positive or negative force in your life. And as with any powerful e-motion, you can put it to work in both negative and positive ways.

If you have ever been captured by an uncontrollable rage, you have experienced a piece of the outer limits of what anger can become. On one level it is behind crimes of passion – and on the other hand, if can fuel the ability to strike back at a threat and survive.

But anger can also be a powerful force for personal transformation. Here is a real life story about the power of anger. A man in his late twenties woke up in the dismal surroundings he called home a very cheap hotel room with a sagging mattress, a flea-bitten armchair, a small table with a habit of losing a leg, and a single window opening onto a view of the next door soot-covered building.

He put on the shorts and socks that had dried on the chair overnight, pulled on a pair of rumpled trousers. Then he sank back down onto the edge of the mattress, rubbed his swollen, bloodshot eyes, and sighed.

Life was not going well for this young man. He was marginally educated and young – and his life was simply not moving in a positive direction. He bent over to put on his shoes, but instead threw one at the wall. His anger and frustration began to build, and he threw the other shoe at the wall.

His face blazed crimson. The frustration and self-loathing that had been building within suddenly erupted like a volcano. This is enough, he shouted. Enough of this disgusting lifestyle.

Today this same young man owns a multitude of successful businesses, and is highly regarded my millions of people. His initials are TR. Sound familiar? Tony is an example of how you can use passionate anger to literally turn your life around on a dime.

You too have choices about how to use the energy of anger. Suppose, for example you are struggling to make ends meet, like many people today. What can you do?

• You can stuff it. But if you do so the problem will not go away. What repressed anger does is to make its home somewhere in your body and create more stress. Ever ask someone What’s eating you? Your intuition picked up on the repressed anger setting them up for ulcers, colitis, and other digestive disorders.

• You can turn it against others. Not much needs to be said about how counter-productive this strategy can be.

• You can work it out physically. The energy of anger can be transformed into physical energy, which is far more beneficial than stuffing your anger. Some common outlets are running, working out, etc. But this is not necessarily a lot of fun.

• You can use it to motivate yourself. Think about what Tony Robbins did in his life. It is the same thing Eleanor Roosevelt did to transform herself from a homely, insecure young girl to a world respected leader. If your life is NOT what you want it to be, start by getting mad enough to take action.

Remember: Anger is just an emotion. But passionate anger can become a highly motivational and unstoppable energy in motion. Put it to work in your life as a positive force to lose weight, get a new job… whatever you NEED to make yourself happy. Just waiting for *it* to happen does NOT work, and never will.

Or if you’re mad enough to really GO FOR IT, come on into Dr. Jill’s Gold Success Training. At the end of 6-weeks you WILL be in action and on target. Go take a look at the amazing results other people just like yourself have achieved. Click here.