Barbara Fredricksons book ‘ Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection’, shows us that love really does hold the key to improving our own mental well being…and much more than happiness and optimism apparently!! She talks about ‘micro moments of positivity’ and these can be anything like the interaction you have with your children or grandchildren, fitting into that dress you haven’t worn for two years, your cat or dog showing you unconditional love…the list is endless but it’s the stuff that brings a smile to our face, regardless of how long that smile stays on our face!!
Fredrickson states that, taking this a step further, you have to ‘increase your smiles per hour’. She states over thinking things diminishes our happiness for the things that happen in the here and now and that seriousness is ‘a disease that not only stifles creativity and problem solving, but is also detrimental to our health’.
All this does sound a bit fluffy, we all have to take things seriously at times, particularly the big stuff like living peacefully with the neighbours, how to bring our children up, getting on with the in-laws etc etc but Fredrickson states you can overcome these difficult things in life by her ‘prescription to increase happiness’…the answer is to give people a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind!
Now this is a bit harder to do in reality, believe me, I have tried! You’ve probably heard the saying ‘to kill someone with kindness’ and, although it seems a tad extreme, it does actually work, the result is you feel better (because you have shown someone an act of kindness and overcome your feelings of hate and detest for that person) but also because the recipient does not know how to deal or react to your behaviour and therefore resorts to the basic human behaviours as one of kindness, mirroring the behaviour they have just received……try it, it really is overwhelming!!
Professor Dean Ornish, an eminent Cardiologist, goes further and writes in his book “Love and Survival”, that “no other factor in medicine, not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery, affects our health, and quality and length of life more than feeling loved and cared for. The best medicine for the heart is love. If you find its not working, increase the dose.”
The more love you give out, the more you receive in return. I know this to be true as this is how I try to live my life. Don’t surround yourself with negative people, folk who want to blame everything on others, who see the worse in their fellow human beings….it is contagious for all the wrong reasons and it will drain you. Don’t fall out with these people, gently distance yourself and surround yourself with people who are postivie and optimistic and give love…believe me, it really works