Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – I Have Love in My Tummy Am I in love?

yummyMany of us know that when we are in love, it feels yummy to our tummy.  Do you remember the song by Ohio Express released in the Sixties Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I have Love in My Tummy?  The hunger for love sometimes makes us feel like we are in love.

We all know that being in love does make us feel light and airy.  We also know that fighting with our love can feel weakened, tired and sometimes even achy and flu-like.

What is impressive is that there is research, which reveals that this is a physiological phenomenon which can be measured. When we are feeling connected, supported, loved, it appears that certain things specifically happen. For example, we release more oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, this hormone can reduce the activity of the fear response in the brain, via the amygdala. Most notably, a belief in being connected is correlated with higher vagal tone. The vagus is the central nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest system. When the vagus is well-toned we tend to be calmer, are more emotionally resilient, and healthier.

Likewise, vagal tone is correlated with a reduction in inflammation and helps to reduce heart rate, thus, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and various other physical diseases. In fact, if we have healthy relationships, we heal more quickly after surgery, and we tend to live longer!

Now on the opposite side of the equation negative relationship can cause much strive and undermine well-being, and it seems better for our health to be in no relationship than to be in one that causes constant strife. For example, painful relationships with a significant other can cause dysregulation in the immune system; we get sick more often. Also, researchers found that painful marriages increase the risk of disease as much as smoking and obesity. This is especially true of cardiovascular disease as stress increases blood pressure and cortisol levels and the chronic situation where both are high have pernicious effects on the heart. Intriguingly women often report more marital stress than men do, so they tend to suffer more physically in challenging relationships than men. Men somehow seem to benefit more often from a health perspective in relationships even when they are a bit difficult.

So what can we practically do with this information to increase our sense of well-being? One thing would obviously be only to make sure to stay with partners where there is peace, but sometimes this is not always the case, and we aren’t prepared to leave the relationship, in this case, mindfulness and even yoga can help, and this is for three reasons.

  1. Mindfulness practice tends to increase compassion. (Gar 2012) When we feel more compassionate, even if nothing has changed in our lives we have this experience of feeling more connected to others which seems to give rise to more vagal tone and thereby greater health.
  2. In a research study looking at women with a major depressive disorder, who felt deeply disconnected and isolated, expressed a feeling of much more significant connectedness following the yoga classes.
  3. When we practice yoga and mindfulness, we tend to become more tolerant and often that which would upset us no longer seems so stressful. Further, we become more emotional and physiological resilient and so negative experiences simply impact the body less.

So, if your relationship is hard and you aren’t ready to leave consider practice yoga and mindfulness to enhance your sense of well-being and reduce the strain of the difficulties you feel. On the other hand, if you have a wonderful relationship thank your partner for supporting you in being healthy and well!





Your Path to Relationship Success

Let’s talk about relationships. I know something about this subject not because of my formal education but from my life experiences. One of the most important relationship lessons I learned is this: The relationships we have with other people are projections of the relationships we have with ourselves.

Our external relationships is a reflection of our internal relationships are in fact the same relationships. They only seem different because we look at them through different lenses.

Let’s consider why this is true. Where do all your relationships exist? They live in your thoughts. Your relationship with another person is whatever you imagine it to be. Whether you love someone or hate someone, you’re right. Now the other person may have a completely different relationship to you, but understand that your representation of what someone else thinks of you is also part of your thoughts. So your relationship with someone includes what you think of that person and what you believe she or he thinks of you. You can complicate it further by imagining what the other person thinks you think of him/her, but ultimately those internal representations are all you have and can lead to paranoia.

Even if your relationships exist in some objective reality independent of your thoughts, you never have access to the objective viewpoint. You’re always viewing your relationships through the eyes of your consciousness. The closest you can get to being objective is to imagine being objective, but that is in no way the same thing as pure objectivity. That’s because the act of observation requires a conscious observer, which is subjective by its very nature.

At first, it might seem troublesome that you can never hope to gain a truly accurate, 100% objective understanding of your relationships. You can never escape the subjective lens of your consciousness. That would be like trying to find the color blue with a red lens permanently taped over your eyes. That doesn’t stop people from trying, but such attempts are in vain. If you fall into the trap of trying to think of your relationships as external entities that are external to you, you’ll be using an inescapably inaccurate model of reality. Consequently, the likely outcome is that you’ll frustrate yourself to no end when it comes to human relationships. You’ll make relating to other people a lot harder than it needs to be. Intuitively you may know something is off in your approach to relationships, but you’ll remain stuck until you realize that every relationship you have with another person is a relationship that exists entirely within yourself.

Fortunately, once you embrace the subjective nature of relationships, you’ll have a much easier time relating to people.

I would like to introduce you to a path to relationship success. It is always simpler to find your destination if you have a GPS.

I will work with you to help you with the relationships you have with yourself. Then I will make suggestions to assist you to transform the way you relate to others and when you start to come to grips that your relationship issues are an internal matter, not an external one.