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  • midlifelove 1:25 am on July 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , art aron, attract love, , danger love matching, , dopamine, flimsy, foreign city, hormone pleasurable, hurricane katrina, new orleans, , rapids, , , swin, theatre show, water rafting   

    Tip No 1 for Attracting Love 

    1) Do new, exciting, slightly risky  things together

    romanceVisit a foreign city, walk a challenging mountain trail, go white water rafting, swim after dark, buy last minute tickets to a sports event or theatre show…. Any new activity, but particularly risky or dangerous ones, prompts spontaneous attraction by stimulating adrenaline (closely related to dopamine and norepinephrine).

    “Adrenaline makes the heart grow fonder,” says psychologist Art Aron.

    Several studies show couples who do exciting things together feel more satisfaction in their relationship.  But it appears sharing an exciting activity can also stimulate romantic love.

    In a typical study, 28 dating and married couples were asked to fill our various questionnaires, then do an activity together, them fill out more questionnaires. One activity was exciting, the other dull.

    Questionnaire responses showed those who did the exciting activity experienced increased feelings of relationship satisfaction, and more intense feelings of romantic love.

    Danger Heightens Response

    We’ve probably all known friends who have found a new love during an extreme experience – being brought together in seemingly random circumstances through unusual or tragic circumstances.

    The “love matches” birthed during New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina are the perfect example of circumstances where responses are heightened by the brain chemicals of adrenaline and dopamine produced  in response to the danger.

    The so-called “creaky bridge” experiment – which involved getting men to walk across either a steady, broad low bridge or a flimsy high suspension one above boulders and rapids – confirmed the idea that sharing exciting experiences can enhance feelings of attraction.

    The two walking bridges span the Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver; In the middle of each bridge stood the same beautiful young woman (part of the research team) who asked each passing man to fill out a questionnaire. After each man completed the survey, she casually told him that if he had any further questions about the study he should call her at home. She gave each her telephone number. No one knew the woman was part of the experiment.

    Nine out of thirty-two men who walked the narrow, wobbly high bridge were attracted enough to call the woman at home, while only two of those who met her on the low safe bridge contacted her.

    Psychologists Donald Dutton and Art Aron concluded that the novelty of the situation – being on a high scary bridge – elevated levels of dopamine, the hormone of pleasurable attraction/addiction.

    Boost Sexual Health

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

     
  • midlifelove 1:35 am on July 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: camilla, charles, chemistry.com, cuddle, diana, dopamine, edward VIII, emotional, fickle, gene pitney, , lies, , neurochemical, , oxytoxin, romantic love, , samantha, sex in the city, shakespeare, wallis simpson   

    Lust, Love and the Science of Intimacy 

    Lust,Love.
    “Practically all the relationships I know are based on a foundation of lies and mutually accepted delusion.” Samantha
    in Sex in The City

     

    “It’s a very fickle situation, love,” Dr Helen Fisher, research professor and expert on romantic love

    Did you feel disappointed with Charles dissed Diana for Camilla? Are you still dreaming Brad and Jen will get back together?  And what was it with Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson that was worth giving up a throne for?

    Whether these famous lovers were in love, in lust, affectionate attachment or a mix and match of all three, it seems it’s true as Shakespeare and Gene Pitney agree; “true love never runs smooth.”

    The Three Faces of Love

    That’s because – according to brain imaging research over the last decade – Mother Nature has set up three distinct but complementary emotion-motivation systems in the brain for mating, reproduction and parenting, each one driven by different brain chemicals and hormones.

    Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on the chemistry of love, says if you’re in a relationship it’s likely you’ll be in one of three stages of love, reflecting the dominant neurochemical at work.  You can be in lust, ‘in love’ or in romantic attachment – or a mix of all three mating states – either with the same person or several people at the same time.

    Lust

    If you’re in lust your sex drive or libido is in top gear, driven by estrogens and androgens. Nature’s purpose? To motivate you to locate any appropriate mating partner.

    In Love

    Accelerate to the starry-eyed stage of romantic attraction – also called or infatuation, or limerance – fuelled by increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine – and you’re fixating on a specific partner. Your chemistry is telling you he or she is “the one”, conserving mating time and energy, and forming bonds which will last long enough (hopefully) to carry you into shared parenthood.

    Attachment

    Fast forward about 18 months (on average) and you’re either going cold on the whole thing or moving into attachment – also called companionate love. Your body has exhausted the dopamine, and the mad buzz of first love has slowed a little.

    Warmed by the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, you’ll be engaged nesting, mutual territory defence, feeding and grooming, sharing feelings of calm, security, social comfort and emotional union.  Nature’s focus, says Dr Fisher, is to “enable you to tolerate this person, at least long enough to raise a child as a team.”

    Charles and Diana, Brad and Jen

    So could Charles and Brad feel companionate love for Diana and Jen while lusting after Camilla and Angelina? Can Diana love Charles at the same time as she is conducting an affair with James Gilbey?  In theory, absolutely, says Dr Fisher. The science of intimacy can be a very complicated thing – or to put it in another way – the neurochemical pathways of our driven nature often overlap.

    “I think that these brain systems are big mix-and-match systems,” says the Rutgers University prof, who is scientific adviser on matchmaking site Chemistry.com

    That’s how it’s possible to “swing easily from one to the other, even lie in bed and feel deep attachment to one person and feel madly in love with someone else. It’s a very fickle situation, love.”

     
  • midlifelove 1:42 am on June 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , cocaine, , , , dopamine, , , , , , , , , , organ, , , , , , , ,   

    Breaking Love Addiction 

    breaking love addiction

    He – or she – is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. He’s – or she’s – your lover, your soul mate. You can read each other’s minds.  You are just meant for each other. It’s uncanny – almost a spiritual thing.

    That’s what you thought until little cracks started appearing in your dream of ‘together forever’. When he or she decided they weren’t that into you anymore and they departed, taking your heart/world/future with them.

    The ‘love of your life’ has walked out and you’re about to discover the dark side of romantic love. Of being devoured by unsatisfied desire – for as Plato said 2000 years ago “The God of Love lives in a state of need.”

    Love Like Cocaine

    That need is a dopamine-fuelled ‘high’ which brain imaging shows activates the reward/pleasure centres in the brain in ways very similar to cocaine and heroin.

    And that’s the first important key to getting over love sickness, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love. Understand it is an addiction and some of the principles of the addiction counselling – like 12 Step programs – are helpful in getting over it.

    Romantic love is associated with high levels of dopamine and probably also norepinephrine – brain substances that drive down serotonin.  And low levels of serotonin are associated with despair, and even suicide.

    If nothing else, hankering after “what-might-have-been” can waste years of your life. It also kills some people. When a love affair turns sour, the human brain is set up for depression, and perhaps, self annihilation… The Japanese even glorified “love suicide” as evidence of one’s devotion.

    Tricky Thinking

    The idea, says Dr Fisher, is to ‘trick your brain’ into producing dopamine in response to new stimuli.

    Despair from unrequited love will most likely also mean plummeting dopamine levels.  As you focus your attention and do novel things, you elevate this feel-good substance, boosting energy and hope. We can also utilise new research on brain functioning which shows we are wired to integrate thoughts and feelings. We can in other words, control our drive to love.

    Woody Allen (in Sleepers) quipped “My brain? It’s my second favourite organ” – and he isn’t alone.  In this “golden age of the brain” neuroscientists are gaining increased understanding of our decision-making processes – and what they are learning can help us take control of our thoughts and feelings. We are wired so we can choose to think before we act (the high road) or we can allow our emotions to dictate our actions (the low road).

    The love addiction can be conquered. It takes determination, time and some understanding of brain function and human nature. Says Dr Fisher:  “Someone is camping in your brain; you must throw the scoundrel out.”

    Foods to beat love addiction

    Many of the neurochemicals involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are affected by the stress of  severe loss. Divorce can add ten years to a man’s testosterone levels in just a few months. The good news is, the ‘chemicals of love’ can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite. Visit http://www.herbalignite.com to find out more about.

     
    • Elvira Lind 9:54 am on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      DOCUMENTARY ON LOVE ADDICTION

      We are looking for people who would like to participate in a documentary on love addiction.

      If you are addicted to love, love becomes more of a struggle than something great and joyful.

      Love addiction can rule your life in a destructive way. As someone addicted to love, you ignore your own boundaries and needs, and your attempts to loving someone are seldom returned. Love addiction can lead to obsessive thinking, anxiety, despair and loneliness.

      With this film we would like to tell the world around us more about love addiction and help people understand. We hope you would like to help with your insights and experiences. There are many types and stages of love addiction, and we are interested in hearing about any one of them.

      We will be in the US in November and December 2009.

      Learn more: http://www.loveaddictiondoc.com

      Write us: loveaddiction@danishdocumentary.com

      Warm regards

      Elvira (research) and Pernille Rose (director)

  • midlifelove 3:15 am on June 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , dopamine, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Why is love addictive? 

    love-addiction copy

    Brain imaging has confirmed what lovers have long-known. The crazy fixation we call romantic love is an addiction. . . maybe that’s why the Greeks called romantic love “the madness of the gods.”

    Anyone who has ever been in the clutches of irrational infatuation knows the symptoms. Seemingly inexhaustible energy allows you to talk until dawn.  Satiated with love, you don’t need to eat; you feel you can live on air. Elated when things are going well, you sink into despair when things look like collapsing.

    Noticeably there is a real dependence on the relationship, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love whose books including Why We Love trace the physical and psychological dependence of this primary human drive.

    And dependence it is. Brain scans of love-stricken couples compared with men and women injected with cocaine, show many of the same brain regions become active.  So how does this happen?

    Three Classic Symptoms

    Directly or indirectly, all “drugs of abuse” affect a single pathway in the brain, the reward centres activated by dopamine. Romantic love stimulates parts of the same pathway with the same chemical.

    In response to dopamine, the bewitched lover shows three classic symptoms of addiction: tolerance, withdrawal and relapse.

    Tolerance: At first you’re happy to see loved one now and then… but very quickly you need them more and more until you “can’t live without them.”

    Withdrawal: Dropped by your lover? The rejected one shows all the classic signs of drug withdrawal – depression, crying, anxiety, insomnia, loss or appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness. You’ll also go to humiliating lengths to “procure a fix” – to see your lover, and try and renew the relationship.

    Relapse: Long after the affair is over, hearing a particular song, or revisiting an old haunt can trigger the craving and initiate compulsive calling or writing to get another “high”. The lover is “a slave of passion.” Or rather – a slave to dopamine.

    The Dopamine High

    Dopamine. It’s at the core of our sexual drives and survival needs, and it motivates us to do just about everything. This mechanism within the reward circuitry of the primitive brain has been around for millions of years.

    It’s behind a lot of the desire we associate with eating and sexual intercourse. Similarly, all addictive drugs trigger dopamine (the “craving neurochemical”) to stimulate the pleasure/reward circuitry. So do gambling, shopping, overeating, sexual climax and other, seemingly unrelated, activities. They all work somewhat differently on the brain, but all raise your dopamine.

    You get a bigger blast of dopamine eating high-calorie, high-fat foods than eating low-calorie vegetables. You may believe that you love ice cream, but you really love your blast of dopamine. You’re genetically programmed to seek out high-calorie foods over others. Similarly, dopamine drives you to have sex over most other activities.

    Boost Sexual Health

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

     
  • midlifelove 5:22 am on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: albert eintein, , chemical, dopamine, , endeavours, , linked, love wins, lucy brown, , move, mri, prairie voles, pursuit, , , , ,   

    Is Love More Powerful than Sex? 

    Sex and romance may seem inextricably linked, but the human brain clearly distinguishes between the two, according to a new study. The upshot: Love is the more powerful emotion.

    The results of brain scans speak to longstanding questions of whether the pursuit of love and sex are different emotional endeavours or whether romance is just warmed over sexual arousal.

    “Our findings show that the brain areas activated when someone looks at a photo of their beloved only partially overlap with the brain regions associated with sexual arousal,” said Arthur Aron of the State University of New York-Stony Brook. “Sex and romantic love involve quite different brain systems.”

    Left side, right side

    The study was small, however, involving 17 young men and women, all of whom had recently fallen madly in love. They filled out questionnaires while their brains were hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) system.

    Romance seems to steep in parts of the brain that are rich in dopamine, a chemical known to affect emotions. These brain regions are also linked by other studies to the motivation for rewards.

    “To our surprise, the activation regions associated with intense romantic love were mostly on the right side of the brain, while the activation regions associated with facial attractiveness were mostly on the left,” said Lucy Brown of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

    The study also revealed that as a romance matures, so does the mind.

    “We found several brain areas where the strength of neural activity changed with the length of the romance,” Brown said. “Everyone knows that relationships are dynamic over time, but we are beginning to track what happens in the brain as a love relationship matures.”

    sex

    Love wins

    The processing of romantic feelings involves a “constellation of neural systems.” The researchers — neuroscientists, anthropologists and social psychologists — declare love the clear winner versus sex in terms of its power over the human mind.

    “Romantic love is one of the most powerful of all human experiences,” said study member Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University. “It is definitely more powerful than the sex drive.”

    Animals, too

    There are hints in the study that romance is not a uniquely human trait.

    Some of the changes seen with mature romances were in regions of the brain also associated with pair-bonding in prairie voles. Other studies have found that expressions of attraction in a female prairie vole are linked to a 50 percent hike in dopamine activity in the brain region that corresponds to the location where human romance is processed.

     
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