What exactly is love, and how do we measure it? According to Barbara Fredrickson, psychology professor and author of Love 2.0, we experience loving moments during ordinary everyday interactions, whether we’re sharing a laugh with a cashier at the supermarket or celebrating a shared triumph with coworkers.
“First and foremost, love is an emotion,” says Fredrickson, “a momentary state that arises to infuse your body and mind alike. An ever-shifting force, it expands your awareness of your surroundings—even your sense of self—and you see fewer distinctions between yourself and others.”
In this video clip from her 2014 Networker Symposium keynote address, “What If Everything You Know About Love is Wrong?” Fredrickson makes the case for expanding our limited definition of love.
“Love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection,” Fredrickson says. “Within these moments of interpersonal connection that are characterized by this amplifying symphony—of shared positive emotions, biobehavioral synchrony, and mutual care—life-giving positivity resonates between and among people. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself.”
University of North Carolina psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson is a leader in researching the impact of positive emotion in transforming our mind, body, and ability to bounce back from hard times. Her national bestseller Positivity documented the evidence showing how positive emotions enhance creativity, inventiveness, and big-picture perceptual focus.
Her book, Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, challenges our limiting notions of love as defined by romance and marriage. The premise of her book is that even the most fleeting everyday moments of positive emotion set off a chain reaction of biological events that can have a critical impact on our overall emotional and physical health.