Love is one of the most complex human emotions — and perhaps the most universal. Depending on who you ask, it can mean anything from a romantic, sexual attachment to a deep connection with a friend or family member. Some people describe it as a feeling that makes them feel like their soul is woven into the fabric of another person. For others, it’s the desire to make that person happy and share experiences together.
Regardless of its definition, love is universally recognized as a force that can bring happiness and joy to your life. In fact, recent research suggests that being in love can help you live longer and improve your health. But, what exactly is it about love that gives us such a strong sense of well-being? And how do we know when we’re in it?
While scientists generally agree that there are a few core types of love, they also recognize that it can manifest in countless ways. It may be the reason you forgive your partner for being late, or why you invest time in a creative project you care about. It could also be the reason you cheer for your favorite sports team, or why you’re devastated when they lose.
It’s no surprise that so many different feelings can be referred to as “love” because of the way we’re wired. As social creatures, we need to feel bonded with others in order to survive and thrive as a species. For example, parents love their children because of the natural bond between parent and child that’s necessary for healthy development. This bond helps us to learn and develop the necessary skills to become successful adults.
In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, the most common sources of happiness in 2019 included having financial stability, a good relationship with friends and family, a satisfying career, and living in nature. A few other things that helped people feel happier were seeing an old couple hold hands, climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets, and enjoying some sunshine.
While a lot of these factors aren’t in our control, some are. Some research, including a study of Norwegian twins, suggests that 30 per cent of the variation in happiness is genetically determined. But, the other 50 per cent can be influenced by our life choices and the way we’re able to cope with challenges and setbacks.
If you’re looking for some love in your life, try brightening someone else’s day. Even something as simple as making your coworker smile or telling your friend how much you appreciate them can go a long way in boosting your happiness and those around you. Plus, it’s a great feeling to know that you’re spreading some good karma!