Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Study Shows Couples Get their Highs off Each Other - Literally

Read an interesting story in Science Daily yesterday – you understand that as a puppy it's a must to have an RSS feed that sends me alerts on articles containing the phrase "animal study," right? Where do you think they get the term "watch dog?" I am on it, people!

Anyway, what the Journal of Neuroscience found in research performed on prairie voles (they look a lot like chipmunks) is that long-term relationships reduce the propensity for drug abuse. When bonds are formed in adulthood they lead to changes in the brain that make using drugs less appealing. Relationships, in fact, actually change the chemicals in the brain that affect our reward system.

In a nutshell, being in love creates a bigger euphoric reward than its chemical imposter, so much so that if a vole were to take a drug while in a long-term relationship, it wouldn't offer the same satisfying effects that it does for singles. Couples get their highs off each other. Literally.

Of course, conversely it found that repeated exposure to drugs in singles actually throws off their drive to form lifelong partnerships. I think this means its time to update Nancy Reagan's Just Say No campaign and those "this is your brain on drugs" commercials. Why not hit where the heart is: "This is your love life on drugs – alone." Would scare me!

The research is being used to create therapies for addiction. I say let's use it to inspire us to elevate our relationship EQ. Fostering long-term relationships with partners, family and friends takes a high level of emotional intelligence.

Here's the Wisdom I'm Unleashing:
These are my principles for developing a High Relationship EQ to sustain long-term partnerships.

1. Master the Art of Forgiveness – None of us is perfect. True love leaves room for mistakes. What's the longest time you've ever see a dog stay angry? We are masters of the art of letting go.

2. Stay Positive - We are all going to have a bad day now and then, but if one person can always stay positive and encouraging, it will shift the other. How many times have you had a bad day and come home to your puppy's jubilation to see you? Kind of hard to stay pissed at the world, right? It works.

3. Accept People as they Are – It makes them feel safe to love, to communicate, to share – key factors for long-term relationshipping. Have you ever noticed your dog gives love unconditionally? We love children, adults, grandmas, cats, people in wheelchairs, the blind, big ones, skinny ones, attractive ones, homely ones, Republicans, Democrats, vegans and carnivores all the same. We love you for you! Imagine the whole world with that outlook.

4. Play often – Don't let your partner get sucked into taking the world, or work, too seriously. As pups, we don't spend hours uninterrupted on our iPads and Blackberries and we are quick to interrupt those in our life who do. Heck, I have taken 5 breaks just writing this entry! When we see you distracted from relationshipping, we come and get you to play with us, go for a walk outside, come inspect something interesting beyond the digital world of your computer screen. If you and your partner can commit to doing the same – to paying attention to each other and having fun – you'll make it long term.

So, what do you say? In the interest of our health, living addiction free and letting love keep us high on life, let's you and me commit to a long-term relationship with each other. We'll call it puppy love.

Live in pawssibilities.


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