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  • midlifelove 2:04 am on June 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breaking up, chemicals, chemistry of love, dante, , dr, ejaculation, evidence of beloved, , failed relationship, fisher, , helen, hippocampus, , , , nature, neurotropic, , self esteem, , sexual arousal, visualise, weight gain,   

    12 Practical Steps to Beat Love Addiction 

    breakup
    “Oh, now there’s only one kind of love that lasts. That’s unrequited love. It stays with you forever.” – Woody Allen.

    If you’re lovesick, like Dante hankering after a dead Beatrice he’d only ever seen a few times in his life, you have two choices.  Hold onto the fantasy and bore your friends to death, or deal with it. Well make that three – if you’re a poet there’s a slim chance you can like Dante, turn it into great literature. For most of us though, getting on with building a happy productive life has got a lot going for it.

    The “reality check” approach is summed up by romantic love expert Dr Helen Fisher: “Someone is camping in your brain: you must throw the scoundrel out.”

    If you’re serious about “throwing the scoundrel out”, and moving on and ultimately finding new love, this 12 step guide, resourced from Dr Fisher’s book Why We Love, The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, is a great place to start.

    Allow yourself a couple of weeks of mooning around grieving. Indulge yourself with your loss if you have to. Play sad love songs and cry about how unfair it all is. Then pick yourself up and get started with the rest of your life:

    1)      Remove all evidence of the beloved. Don’t try and be friends for at least a couple of years. Throw out all cards and letters, or stuff them in a box and put them out of reach.  Don’t call or write under any circumstances. Depart immediately if you see your former lover in the street. Even the smallest contact can fire up your brain with romantic desire.

    2)      Develop positive affirmations about yourself and your future.  Frame up something that boosts your self esteem and projects your mind past the failed relationship and towards successful love.

    3)      Visualise a better time. Picture yourself walking arm in arm with someone who adores you and you cherish – the perfect partner. Make it up and make it good. When you can’t stop thinking about ‘him’ or ‘her,’ dwell on their negative traits. Write down their faults and carry the list in your purse or pocket.

    4)      Stay busy. Distract yourself. Call friends. Visit neighbours. Go somewhere to worship. Play games. Memorize poetry. Dance.  Sing.  Learn to draw. Get a dog or a cat or a bird. Take that vacation you have always thought about. Write out your plans for the future. Do anything that forces you to concentrate your attention, particularly on things you do well

    5)      Exercise. Jogging, biking, and other forms of strenuous physical activity will drive up the levels of dopamine, and elevate serotonin and endorphins, the calming brain neurochemicals. It also increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) in the hippocampus, the memory centre, which protects and makes new nerve cells.

    6)      Get out in the sun. It stimulates the pineal gland, which regulates bodily rhythms in ways that elevate mood. Pick a daily activity you can do in sunlight, preferably out of doors.

    7)      Avoid sweets or drugs that you know will stress your mind and body.

    8)      Take one day at a time – a 12 Step program principle.  Just as the alcoholic decides not to have a drink “today” the rejected lover can decide not to contact their beloved “today.”

    9)      If you don’t want to slip, don’t go to slippery places. For the love addict that means don’t go to places you know you former lover is likely to be – the favourite bar, places that were special to you as a couple. Go somewhere new to shop or to get your exercise. Don’t play songs you used to share. Avoid “people, places and things” that trigger a desire for your ex.

    10)   Give it time. Often it takes more than two years of separation to free you from the chains of past love. Even with all your good new habits, removal of stimuli, new interests and new people, it will take time to heal.

    11)   Consider anti depressants if you are seriously depressed. The most common antidepressants are serotonin boosters – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.  They even help repair damage in the brain’s memory centre from prolonged stress, but they do have some negative side effects – weight gain, reduced libido, delayed sexual arousal, and inability to achieve erection, ejaculation or orgasm.  You might consider a dopamine enhancer instead. They are not as reliable in lifting suicidal depressions, but they work for many people and they do not produce weight gain or reduced sex drive – rather the opposite.

    12)   Find a new lover to drive out the old. By far the most effective cure for a bad romance is to find a new lover. As you fall in love again, you elevate levels of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.

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

    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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