Love 2.0
How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become
by Barbara L. Fredrickson, PH.D

I’d suggest that anyone who is learning about the nature of love read this book. It shares numerous important insights about the reality of love as it is manifested in our material beings. Barbara describes love in this way, “Love is our supreme emotion that makes us come most fully alive and feel most fully human. It is perhaps the most essential emotional experience for thriving and health.”

In her work you will presented with the discoveries of a serious researcher, an objective scientist, who crossed emotions science with relationship science. Between the two she observes that love can be regarded as fleeting micro moments of shared affinity between people. She examines the physiological and mental changes that occur in the minds and bodies of those who share this positivity resonance (to use her descriptive term). Love in her discoveries is not exclusive but can be shared universally. In truth she has discovered the practical and physical substance of “Love Thy Neighbor.”

Positivity resonance is her shorthand for three concurrent events, which she describes in this way… “To put it in a nutshell, love is the momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.”

She goes on to sum up her observations… “Everyday micro-moments of positivity resonance add up and ultimately transform your life for the better. You become healthier, happier, and more socially integrated. Your wisdom and resilience grow as well. Having more resources like these in turn equips you to experience micro-moments of love more readily and more often, with further broaden-and-build benefits. Your body, as biology has it, energizes and sustains this upward spiral. The unseen and heretofore unsung biology of love affects everything you feel, think, do, and become.”

Within the text are contained references to many studies that support her thesis. There are fascinating glimpses of DNA and glandular/biochemistry studies. Brain activity via coupling and mirroring is a fascinating bit of information that approaches what I call ‘telempathy’. The description of the strength of your vagus nerve as an indicator of your biological aptitude for love was illuminating. All in all her physiological studies lead to this conclusion…

“The new science of love makes it clear that your body acts as a verb. Sure enough, some aspects of your body remain relatively constant day in and day out, like your DNA or your eye color. But your brain continually registers your ever-changing circumstances and in turnorchestrates the flux of biochemicals that reshape your body and brain from the inside out, at the cellular level. Your body takes action. Most notably, it broadcasts everything you feel— your moments of positivity resonance or their lack— to every part of you, readying you for either health or illness and rendering you either more or less equipped for loving connection.”

Love 2.0 is crafted with two major parts. Part I. The Vision describes love as our supreme emotion, describes what love is from this new perspective, shares the biological basis for this view and then details how love has a ripple effect throughout our lives those around us. She sums up part one with this paragraph…

“Love, as we’ve seen here, ripples out through space and time. In a moment of positivity resonance, studies show, your awareness automatically expands, allowing you to appreciate more than you typically do. Also quite automatically, your body leans in toward and affirms the other person, and begins a subtle synchronized dance that further reinforces your connection. Over time, these powerful moments change who you are. They help expand your network of relationships and grow your resilience, wisdom, and physical health.”

Part II of Love 2.0 is entitled “The Guidance”. In this section Barbara describes her techniques and discoveries in working toward achieving an increased capacity to share love. She particularly focuses on Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) but includes a number of other suggestions for practical strategies to help one focus on love. I read this part with interest but not the same fascination that kept me enthralled throughout Part I, the physical science of love. Part II struck me as one person’s path and the techniques of spiritual development she found valuable. I feel sure they will be valuable for many.

The book itself is a mix of anecdote (subjective science), hard (objective) science and practical suggestions. I found it refreshing. There are times when the academic shines through her effort to make the information accessible to the layman. Most of the academic foundation is ‘hidden’ in the Acknowledgements, Recommended Reading, Index of Practices, Notes and Index that occupy the last ¼ of the book.

My personal study of Love began with Divinity. Barbara’s work is helping me to realize the final link in the chain, love with those people whose lives I touch. I recommend her work highly and would emphasize its potential importance for you.

Fredrickson, Barbara (2013-01-24). Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, Penguin Group US. (Kindle Edition was the version I read)