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Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts

Couples Love and Relationship Education Succeeds

Synopsis: Joining the trend?; who’s helped by love and relationship education; what is helped; the many ways to learn about succeeding at couple’s love; the growing popularity of love and relationship education; what to do and not do in choosing love education programs.


Are you part of the growing trend of people getting into love education?  Are you and a beloved working together to learn all the incredibly useful things being discovered that can make couple’s relationships grow and become awesome?  Are you learning with another to practice the practical ‘how to’s’ of successful couplehood?

Who is Helped

Love education works!  Couples succeed more with relationship education!  Couple’s relationship, education research shows it works for all sorts of different kinds of couples who are in all sorts of different kinds of life situations and who come from all sorts of very different backgrounds.  Everyone from affluent Kuwaiti couples in a one hour workshop learning about love and communication to a 42 hour class for low income, Oklahoma couples being taught relationship success techniques  — the research shows couples do better with relationship education.

Well designed and well executed studies of both distressed and not distressed married couples, not married co-habiting couples, couples of multiple socio-economic status levels, couples of different races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, etc., couples in which one has cancer, couples who have lost a child, couples about to have a child and couples who just had a child, military couples, same-sex couples, couples dealing with addictions, pre-release prisoners and spouses, court ordered parents — they all show improvement when they are involved in love and relationship education programs.

A great variety of different kinds of improvement have been discovered to occur with these couples, and the degree of benefit varies depending on the exact nature of the program the couples are engaged in, and not everyone shows improvement.  However, the data demonstrates that all-in-all improvements occur for all kinds of couples, in all kinds of situations and with all kinds of different life factors when couples engage in love and relationship education programs.  These improvements are well beyond anything occurring in comparison and control group couples who are not involved in these types of programs.

What is Helped

Love, giving love, receiving love, feeling love, feeling loved, growing love, empowering with love, love strengthening, love healing, lasting love, sexual loving and every other aspect of healthy, real love can be expected to improve in a good couple’s love education program.  But that’s not all.  The research shows a tremendous variety of different benefits accrue to those involved in couple’s relationship education.  Such couples significantly increase their chances of having healthy, happy and stable, lasting, bonded relationships.

These fantastic results are put forth in a survey of ‘30 recent research studies’ conducted by various universities, by various state and federal agencies in several countries, and by the U.S. Army and Air Force.

The aforementioned research endeavors showed couples achieving improvements significantly over control groups in factor areas like these: general relationship quality, relationship length, conflict control, relationship knowledge, relational happiness, lowered divorce rates, communication, decreased postpartum depression, decreased relational dissatisfaction, increased positive interaction, decreased negative interaction, decreased incidence of fighting and arguing and related conflict, better parenting, better relating in front of children, increased relationship commitment, relational satisfaction, resolution of differences in conflict, self-regulation, relational adjustments, co-parenting teamwork, parent/child functionality, the elimination of loneliness, greater spousal sense of friendship, dedication, relational confidence, empathetic interaction, intimacy, motivation to improve, acceptance, reduction of distress, coping with stress, mindfulness, relaxation, optimism, autonomy, decreased physical assault, aggression, anxiety, depression, psychological dysfunction and much improved sexuality.

Some follow-up studies of improvements show them still to be in existence as much as two years later.  There also were improvements in physical health.  Blood pressure improvements, decreased medical symptomatology in cancer patients, enhanced salivary oxytocin (a love bonding, neurochemical processor), reduced alpha amylase (a measure of negative physical reaction to stressors and a digestion aid), increased immunity functioning and general healthfulness all improved over that of the control groups studied. WOW, WOW, WOW!

Lots of Ways to Learn Love

Love and couple’s relationship programs come in many forms and many of them only are beginning to be well researched.  There are programs on the Internet, manuals and workbook usage approaches, classroom lectures, group discussion approaches, programs using home visits, dream sharing, guided meditation and mindfulness training, programs using follow-up booster sessions, and more.  Retreat, workshop and seminar formats are common.  The research referred to studied a fair number of those various approaches and found all types of programs produced improvements and could be useful. 

The population sizes in those research efforts also varied greatly.  The smallest was 14 couples in which one spouse of each couple had breast cancer.  The largest study had 5102 new parent couples in eight locations across the US.  The research also has shown that improvements can occur irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality and many other sometimes differentiating characteristics.

Growing Popularity

‘Love relationship education programs’ are becoming so popular that the New York Times recently featured a review of a book on this subject.  No Cheating, No Dying chronicles a couple’s journey into the world of relationship improvement education.  They describe themselves as having a good marriage when they decide to improve it further by sampling different couple’s love improvement approaches.  First, they try a published manual’s five-step, at-home program for re-romanticizing their marriage.  However, they quit after step two.  Then they get into a psychoanalytic, couples therapist’s program who wants them only to focus on disagreements, difficulties, what’s wrong, sick, etc.

This makes things much worse in this couple’s previously well functioning marriage.  Undaunted they quit that and get into a positive psychology focus by taking a course on “Mastering the Mysteries of Love”.  That, actually, brings lots of improvements especially in helping them with empathy and sharing.  Later they add a sexuality improvement effort and their erotic life excels.  This book makes it clear that not all couple’s relationship education efforts are going to get good results and a certain amount of carefulness is needed in selecting what is right for you.

What to Do and Not Do

If you want to take your couple’s love relationship to new heights, strengthen and grow your love, and discover the best of love relating I suggest you start getting deeply into learning the ‘how to’s’ of healthy, real, couple’s love.   Also if you want to add to or enhance the mending and healing of a damaged, wounded, or less than fully functional love relationship, do the same thing.  Perhaps you’re already doing that since you’re reading this.  Therefore, keep doing what your doing, maybe even more.  Then you might search for and review various programs available through churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc. along with college non-credit education classes and online programs.

Beware of programs that are more focused on what I call “pulling your weeds” and not focused enough on “growing your flowers”.  Some efforts seem only to want to talk about what can go wrong, or does go wrong, or what is wrong with you, or in other words “the weeds”.  Programs that offer ‘skills training and development’ demonstrating how to make advancements in the positive aspects of love relationships tend to be better than those that only are focused on problem solving.

Frequently problem solving is better handled in couples counseling while advancement and achievement often is better done through courses, workshops, seminars, online programs, etc..  Also be aware that some couple’s education programs are too simplistic, some are too mild and saccharin, some just wrong or stupid, and some flat-out crazy.  Most, however, have something really good to offer, so just be a little careful in your selection.

As I see it, the best ones are the ones that focus on how to give and get love as a couple, really communicating and relating with love, growing your ability to relate with love actions, solving difficulties with love approaches, and generally just doing love well.  If love is not a major element of a couple’s relationship education effort you might want to avoid it.  If love is mentioned but treated in an overly romanticized, vague or impractical manner, or confused with sex you might want to avoid it.  If, however, love is well emphasized, behaviorally related, more clearly defined, and treated as a natural, healthful phenomenon you may have found a good thing.

If you have a loved one who is resistant to, critical of, or disinterested in ‘love education’ you might want to share this entry and the benefits herein – of course, it is best to approach them in a love-filled way.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly



Love Success Question
Can you identify and tell a beloved person in your life at least three specific things you want both of you to learn about giving and receiving love?

It Might Be Healthy, Real Love ...

1.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is kind to you in small, medium and large ways.

2.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner praises and compliments you frequently and honestly.

3.    It might be healthy, real love it your love partner doesn’t put you down or make demeaning, degrading or devaluing statements about you to you or to others.

4.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is protective of you but not overprotective.

5.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner strongly supports your growth, development and advancement, and does not act to hold you back, suppress or repress you.

6.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is understanding and tolerant of your mistakes, foibles and unsuccessful efforts.

7.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner supports your efforts to love the people you love.

8.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner enjoys seeing you enjoy life.

9.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner actively helps you with your interests and nurtures your cherished involvements.

10.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner lovingly touches you back when you give a loving touch.

11.    It might be healthy, real love if what is important to you is important to your love partner just because it’s important to you.

12.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner shares their emotions with you and wants the same from you.

13.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner treats you democratically and as an equal.

14.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner treats you with honesty even when it might lead to difficulty.

15.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner frequently is joyous about loving you and being loved by you.

16.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner keeps desiring to know all about you – your current thoughts, feelings, actions, hopes, plans, dreams, preferences and all that’s special about you.

17.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner enjoys having ‘emotional intercourse’ as well as sexual intercourse with you.

18.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner wants to help you achieve your wants as much as they want to achieve theirs.

19.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is not sexually selfish.

20.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is seldom indifferent to you.

21.    It be healthy, real love if when ‘making love’ mutual pleasuring is more important than performance.

22.    It might be healthy, real love if you and your love partner clearly and easily ask each ask each other for what is wanted, instead of relying on hints, ‘mind reading’, or the false idea that love gives magic, automatic knowledge.

As Always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
Which of these statements grab your attention the most; and what do you suppose that is telling you?



Do You Love with Laughter?

Do you know you can love someone by helping them laugh?  You also can love them by laughing with them (not at them).  Laughing together helps the love connecting process grow stronger.  Smiling, saying something funny, witty, humorous, etc. is a real plus for all sorts of love relationships.

This especially applies to friendship love, parent/child love, mate love, and comrade love, plus it is very likely to be constructive in a good many other types of love relationships.

Loving with laughter sometimes is especially good for helping people under stress ‘lighten their load’, panicked people ‘get a grip’, and angry people not take things so seriously.  Loving with laughter can give needed relief by assisting people be, at least temporarily, distracted from physical and emotional pain, fear, anxiety, other bad feelings, and also from life’s problems and difficult situations.  A good loving ‘laughter break’ often helps people approach a difficulty from a new and better angle seeing solutions they were blinded to previously.

Not only does loving with laughter help your loved one but it helps you too.  Besides creating a positive, happy environment for both of you, hearty laughter releases healthy, feel good, beneficial chemicals in your body.  The bio-sciences have produced many reports indicating laughter can reduce stress, promote relaxation and strengthen our immune system.  So, do yourself a favor and laugh with your loved ones often.

Loving with laughter is especially helpful in romantic and mate type love development.  It helps lovers reduce tension, feel more at ease, feel more connected, sometimes be more self disclosing and want to be around each other more.  It is no wonder that the most common thing women say that attracted them to a lover was “He made me laugh”.  A human love relationship without laughter can be too heavy, too serious and too draining.

There are a couple of things to be careful about.  One is ‘put down’ humor.  Putdown humor occurs when the humor depends on someone being demeaned, criticized, the butt of a joke, etc..  It may work in some friendships but it is seldom a plus in mate or romantic type love.  Put down humor can grow especially toxic when the putdowns are being aimed at the one you love.  Frequently the person being put down comes to feel degraded and disrespected instead of enjoyed.  The trick is to not ‘make fun of’ but rather have fun with those you love.  Whenever you help a loved one feel like they are being made fun of, secret or subconscious resentments tend to grow, a fight or even a breakup may ensue.

No matter how funny you may think demeaning humor, clever putdowns, critical joking, and discounting satire are they all can be quite detrimental to a love relationship. This can be true no matter who or what the target of the negative humor is.  Humor that depends on any form of prejudice also may be quite destructive to a love relationship.  Another thing to watch out for is too much laughing at yourself.  Self-effacing humor, even though it causes laughter, may subtly teach another person to think more poorly of you.

Cruelty-based or dependent laughter of any kind promotes cruelty which may eventually be turned on everyone and anyone in a relationship network.  Also to be avoided in doing healthy real love is falsely laughing at someone else’s jokes, witticism, satire, etc..  Falsely laughing practices and promotes being deceptive, giving false information about what you like or find funny, and it reinforces the increase of a behavior you don’t want to see more of.

The best love laughter probably occurs with positive surprises.  An unexpected compliment, the unusual rewarding event, and the unforeseen affirming action are examples.  Consider a surprise birthday party, an affirmation-filled singing message, the discovered upbeat love note, flowers for no special occasion or a puppy gift.  All are likely to produce smiles and laughter in a way that also can convey and promote healthy real love.  Strange and odd ways of seeing things, saying things and doing things can provide not only laughter but an intimate sharing of one’s unique special self.  That is almost always good for growing a close, endearing love relationship.

Also important is being silly together.  Lighthearted, shared, silly actions, words, looks, gestures, etc. all can be super constructive in many kinds of love relating.  This can be doubly important in sexual love.  Silly sex is one of the best types of sex according to many couples.  The fun-filled, naked pillow fight, the giggle-filled secret sex in a public place, and the laughter inducing wearing of absurdly sexy attire are examples.  Lovingly laughing together at sexually involved awkward moments, clumsy maneuvers, botched attempts, and fizzled finesse, along with larger sexual misadventures is often crucial.

Shared loving laughter can help you not to get stuck, stopped or in a rut concerning sex.  Laughing together can make even upsetting sex-related misdeeds, indiscretions and disasters into  precious, funny, shared love memories such as “Remember the time we set the pillow on fire”, “the minister arrived at our house unexpectedly and we had to scramble for our clothes”, and “how Auntie Matilda responded to the elephant’s erection”.

Loving smiles and laughter also can come from using precious, funny, little nicknames: Diddlesitlittle, Poofuddle , Sugams, and Dimpleduster to name a few I’ve heard.  Using special oddball terms for the ordinary like “At their house lovers eat dinnuch at 4:30 P.M.” helps with laughter and closeness.  Giving loved ones a loving wink, nudge, thumbs-up gesture, V for victory salute, etc. all done with little laughs and smiles are also precious.

Laughing while talking with sexy innuendos for example “Do you want some”, “Last night did you get some”, “Are you going to give him (or her), or both some tonight”, “Give me some right now and I’ll make sure you get some right along with mine” ad infinitum.  This shared  sexiness with a little fun helps many love relationships to be intimate and special.  Best of all can be simple laughter itself, for no other reason than just being happy in love.

So, I want you to ask yourself, “How are you doing at loving with laughter?”

As always –grow in love! And laugh often.

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly



Image credits: “heart faces background” by Flickr user jelene (Jelene Morris).

Want New and Better Love in the Next Year?


Mini-Love-Lesson  #262


Synopsis: Love can be felt and love can be done. This mini-love-lesson focuses on the getting it done part, and doing love ever better in spite of some dangers.  There is a simple, quick love rating scale to help you evaluate where you are in your love relating world; followed by how to analyze its results and use them for growing ever better love in the coming year, no matter how good or bad love was for you last year.


Ever Better Love

Love is one of those things that always can be done even better than it was before, no matter how good it was – or wasn’t.  Love feelings come naturally but doing love takes active participation in the doing part. That, of course, takes figuring out and learning what to do.  This means, if you want your next year of love relating to go better than the last, you probably will have to  do some learning and thinking about doing love.  This mini-love-lesson is aimed at helping you do just that.  It begins with a simple evaluation exercise to help you see where you might want to focus your improvement efforts.

Caution – Danger – Don’t Do’s

Let’s look at something you may be non-consciously programmed to do which many of us relationship researchers, coaches, counselors and therapists tend to see as common and, more often than not, destructive and frequently even disastrous.  It has to do with trying to do love with only part of yourself instead of with your whole self.  We tend to succeed at love better when all our major parts get involved.  One part many are subconsciously programmed to leave out is our conscious thinking self.  This kind of program may read something like this.

“For doing love you can only rely on your intuition and your love luck.  After all, love is done by unknowable magic, or maybe done by how your parents treated you when you were an infant and, in any case, you can’t do anything about either, so don’t try.  In fact, trying gets in the way.  You only can hope and maybe pray.  Otherwise, how you do love and love relating only can be carried out by your intuitive impulses, governed by your luck at love.”

Your personal program may read rather differently or similarly to that.  However, if it is in any way like that, know that it is antithetical to the knowledge and teachings of a great many of our time-honored sages, wisdom masters and spiritual leaders of old, plus it is in opposition to a lot of recent research, all of whom have a lot to say about how to do love and do it well.

Quick Rate Your Love Relationships

First, look over the following list of a dozen forms of love relationship and pick out the ones you want to give a rating to then give them a check mark.  Next using a scale of 0 to 10 (zero meaning the worst and 10 meaning the best) quickly rate how well you estimate you are doing at love relating in each those relationships you have checked.  Don’t over think any of them.  You can do that later if you wish.  Just use a quick first impression approach.

Forms of Love Relating to Rate. (Using 0 – 10 or NA for not applicable)
1. Pet love ____, 2. Friendship love ____, 3. Family love ____, 4. Love of children ____,
5. Love of Parent Figures ____, 6. Love of special heartmate (spouse etc.) ____,
7. Healthy Real Level of Self ____, 8. Spiritual Love ____, 9. Love of Life ____,
10. Love of others, people, etc. _____, 11. Love of nature _____,
12. love of a special cause, endeavor, involvement, group or population ____.

Evaluation and Analysis

Now, examine your highest ratings and ask yourself how might you do even better in those higher rated, important areas?  Maybe make some notes or start a file.  Then, examine your low scores asking yourself if you really want to make any improvements in those lower scored relationships?  If so, you might circle them.  Now, look closely at the middle-range-ratings asking yourself if those relationship areas might merit further focus and exploration?  Finally, look at the forms of love relating you did not rate asking yourself what you might want to do so that you could easily and quickly have a rate to give in those areas?

Now you can choose to go back and give longer, more full thought to any of the forms of love relating you might want to examine more deeply how you think and feel about them – or not.  Again, maybe making some notes?  I recommend you also give yourself an overall, not too critical or praising, tentative, general analysis statement about what this is telling you about you and your world of love relationships.  Put that into exact words, as best you can, and keep it wherever you might want to.  Then take it out tomorrow and review it again adding or subtracting from it, and do it again in a week.

Improvement Usage

Now, I suggest you start toward making your plans for love improvements in the next year.  This is sort of like making New Year’s Resolutions.  To make them work, you probably have to check up on doing them in some regular way, like once a week, once a month, every six weeks, etc. using a calendar and/or reminder system.

Making a doing love better plan is usually best done with specifics like who or what is exactly the target of your efforts, what exact behaviors will you do (give a particular compliment, kiss, hug, favor, dozen smiles, an hour of undivided attention, take to a movie they want to see, etc., etc. etc.).  Also specifics  on what day and time will this action be taken, when and how you will record and evaluate afterwards and plan a next action.  You can include generalities like I will be kinder, happier toward them, attentive, affirmative, etc. but unless you add more behaviorally specific actions, it is not likely much actually will happen often enough.

If your love improvement plan also includes things you want not to do like stop getting mad so easily, talk over others when they are talking, immediately bringing up problems and negative issues when first encountering loved ones, etc. that is half a success-oriented plan.  It also is important to add what you will do instead of the action you wish to stop or limit.  Without the instead action, old action habits tend to prevail.

Now for New Learning

To do new and better thinking about anything, usually requires new and hopefully enjoyable learning.  Here is my suggestion for that.  At this site, go to the two indexes of the mini-love-lessons.  In the Title Index, scan down the titles once a week, on the same day of the week, preferably for the next 52 weeks.  Every time you do this, pick a title that gets your attention for whatever reason and read it, think about it, make a note or two about it and see if there is a way to use it for doing love better love in your next week.  After you have some notes written, review some of them each time you write new notes  When you miss a week, do two the next week.

                                                AND/OR

Using the Subject Index, find a Large Topic Area that for whatever reason seems to interest you a bit more than the others.  Then scan the mini-love-lesson titles listed in that topic area and once a week read one of them, following the same instructions as above.  Do this until you want to change to another Large Topic Area.  Then do so.  Keep doing this until you have read, thought about and made some notes, plus reviewed some of your past notes hopefully for 52 weeks.  Each time you do this, record or draw a :-) on your calendar or on your way of keeping your record of love actions taken.

By doing this, you very likely will teach yourself how to make your ways of love relating and doing love better, and better, plus making it a habit to do love actions more regularly.

One More Thing

Discussing what you have just read with others tends to help you more diversely expand and develop your thinking about what you have read, plus it often leads to other stimulating topics.  That is thought to be because discussing ideas uses different and additional parts of your brain than does thinking silently by yourself – which does have its own advantages.  If you do discuss this mini-love-lesson with others, please mention this site and its many love lessons aimed at helping all people to love more and better.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: If knowledge is power as they say, won’t new love knowledge empower you to do love more and better love as long as you keep acquiring new love knowledge?

How Receiving Love Well Gives Love Better



Synopsis: A note on ongoing love; then getting a grasp of what is good and bad love reception starts our mini-love-lesson; leading to how to really receive love – part one having to do love mindfulness and really getting it, which is followed by part two on how to give love back by showing you truly got it.


Ongoing Love Is a Game of Pitch, Catch and Throw Back

First you have to notice love is coming your way, then you have to react to really catch it well and not let it go by or drop it, then you have to accomplish a good return pitch.

Good and Bad Love Reception

When love comes your way, do you do a good job of receiving it?  Some people are so bad at receiving love they unknowingly get themselves love-starved.  They also unknowingly may be turning off people from trying to love them.  That can ruin a love relationship.  Those who are really good at love reception are better nourished and more energized by the love they receive.  In the act of good love reception, someone good at love reception sends love back to the previous love sender.  This greatly helps to form and maintain a love-generating, love-bonding, and love-cycling love relationship.

Poor receivers dishearten and disappoint the people they love, and even may cause them to feel rejected and futile in their attempts to give love.  Poor receivers also model and, therefore,  program or unintentionally may teach their children to become poor receivers.  Good receivers do exactly the opposite.  Those who are good at love reception generally are much more liked, befriended, included and assisted than are those who are poor at love reception.

It turns out that receiving love well is an excellent way to actually send love to someone.  It is one of the eight major types of behavior by which a person can directly help another person thrive on love.  (See “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love” mini-love-lessons at this site).  It is for that reason that it can be called Receptional Love and can be listed along with the other seven major types of behavior that convey love discovered by the massive research efforts in social psychology to understand love started by the eminent Dr. Clifford Swensen.

How to Receive Love Well: Part One

If someone sends you a statement of love, a gift of love, a loving touch, a loving look or any of the other ways that show and convey love, what do you do with it?  First, of course, you have to notice it.  Sadly many people are very poor at noticing the love that is coming their way.  They have been programmed, even self-trained to be so focused on a great many other things that they totally miss the love that actually is there for them.  Next, they have to count it.  Once a love action is noticed it is important to value it.

Here is an example.  A child, in an act of love toward a parent, goes to the trouble of making a picture.  Maybe they go to a lot of trouble making the picture, really taking time with it.  Then they present it to their parent as a gift of love.  If the parent is busy with something else, like talking to someone, and the parent takes the picture but does not look at it and instead places it aside on a pile of other papers, where soon it will be buried by other papers; this parent has sent a message which says to the child, your gift of love is of no value.

If that or similar things happen at crucial times, and far too often, the child may learn not to behave with love.  This child also may learn to feel unworthy, insignificant and even unlovable since loving behavior did not came back.  Someday the parent may be asking, why don’t my children want to visit me, contact me, or show any signs that they love me?  The parent also may wonder why their children have so much trouble with their own love relationships.

All was not lost.  If the parent later were to come back to the child holding the picture, and with warm tones of voice and a smile say they have been looking at the picture, and soaking up what a fine gift of love the picture is, and how they will cherish it, and give it a place of honor in a scrapbook, they may have amended sufficiently their former poor love reception, and turned it into an act of good receptional love.

Love Mindfulness

It is the same with adults, only with complications.  First notice, then take time to value or ‘count’ the demonstrations of love coming your way.  Maybe you say to yourself, “He (or she) is holding my hand and that’s showing me some love, so I will let myself fully notice it and value it”.  The next step is to let yourself more fully feel it.  Don’t let your mind go off somewhere else.  Stick with the fact that your hand is being held and that means some love can come in.  Maybe you tell yourself, with a bit of a deeper breath, “I feel it; I’m being loved and I feel it,  I am letting myself fully feel that this person holding my hand is loving me right now; I digest it; I absorb it and I let it nourish me”.

I have heard people who are learning this mindfulness technique say, “I don’t have time for all that”.  Sometimes I reply, “You don’t have maybe 15 seconds, even the 20 or 30 seconds it will take to do that?  You don’t have time to feel loved?  What will that do to you in the long run”?  Usually they then begin to try what I’m suggesting they do, to absorb and digest the love that comes their way.  You can do the same.  Bear in mind, it does take practice and repetition to do it well.

Lots of love comes to us through statements.  Those statements of love often are accompanied by loving looks and loving tones of voice.  There may be a loving gesture or posture change (known as expressional love) like opening arms to us or leaning forward toward us.  It is important we become mindful of all that, along with the words.  In this way you get the whole behavioral love gift and not just part of it.  If your beloved says “I love you” and all you do is snap back with “I love you too”, that is nice but usually it is not deep or nearly all you could be experiencing.  If you take a couple of seconds to look into your beloved’s face and say to yourself something like “I’m being told ‘you’ ‘love’ ‘me’, and that’s important.  I am taking it in, and I am absorbing it,.  I am letting myself fully feel it and know it”.  It is when we learn to do things like that, that we can much more fully receive love in a deep way and really be nourished by it.

Sometimes love comes to us through much bigger actions which take longer than a simple statement or an act like holding your hand.  It is appropriate to take a lot longer to focus on, strongly value, and more deeply absorb those demonstrations of love.  To feel precious and cherished by ongoing actions of love, to let ourselves feel honored by the day-to-day ways we are loved, to let ourselves feel highly valued by loving thoughtfulness, kindness, assistance, support and the many other ways we are loved also is highly important. By doing so, we help our loved ones succeed at loving us.  Healthy, real love partly comes our way from those who truly love us, so that love accomplishes its goal of benefiting us, because this is what love does.  Letting love do exactly that by absorbing it well, lets those who love us achieve one of love’s great goals.  Anything that depletes good, full reception, helps inhibit love.

Training your mind not to let anything interfere with taking some time to really feel and absorb the love coming of your way helps.  You can train yourself to do a good job of part one of receptional love.  At first it may take more practice that you might think but like anything if you keep practicing you get better at it, and you begin to notice the good feelings and many other benefits that result.  It may feel odd, strange, or unusual if you have not been doing this sort of thing.  With repeated work, you can join the happy people who know how to receive love well and let it nourish them.

How to Receive Love Well: Part Two

Now, as you work on really noticing, valuing, absorbing, and therefore, letting yourself fully feel loved, there is another big, important thing to do.  This is to do a good job of showing that you are getting the love being sent your way.  If somebody hands you a ‘love gift’ and you just say “thanks”, and put it down, and you don’t do much more, that is not very good reception.  If you take it for granted, that shows you do not sincerely and honestly notice, value and absorb it which may also show that you are not giving back the gift of good receiving.

If someone says words of love to you and you act as if nothing happened, or you only return some perfunctory politeness, that probably will not do the job of good love reception either.  Being truthful also is important.  The truth best be that you have really noticed with appreciation (valued) and felt (absorbed) the love demonstration that came your way.  Even if the ‘love action’ coming your way is not really ‘your thing’, you can appreciate the loving gesture behind it and absorb the love itself that is being delivered.

Love Behaviors That Give Love Back

If you are with someone who loves you, and they say or do something loving towards you, and you absorb it, your expressional reaction immediately can give love back.  Expressional love is given by your facial expression – usually a smile, your tonal expression – usually warm and happy tones of voice, a gestural expression – maybe open arms, and a postural expression – leaning in or moving toward the person.  In some situations these may be done in minimal ways like a small nod of the head with just a tiny momentary grin, but usually it is better if the expressional behavior is bigger and more robust.

Tactile behavior such as hugs and kisses, hand and arm squeezes, pats on legs, arms, backs, etc., all can be added to the expressional reaction and all can show you really noticed, value and have absorbed with appreciation the other person’s love action.

Words of thanks and appreciation are great ways to show you got the love sent, and you are sending love back.   There are many love getting and giving situations that can be well done with words, both verbally and in written form.  But be careful not to sound like you are being only dutifully polite.
Gifting, both tangible gifts and experiential gifts, also can be terrifically good in showing someone you truly got their gift of love.  Thank you cards, flowers, and other tangible gifts are great.  Doing someone a return favor, or surprising them in some happy-making way is often the experiential gift that shows you really got and appreciated their gift of love.

Sometimes opening up to a person who has shown you love, returns the love by your self disclosure.  Various ways to show affirmation of a person’s value in your life is especially good for demonstrating receptional love.  Even tolerational love can be tied in with reception love.

More to Learn

This mini-love-lesson is aimed at getting you started toward new and better receptional love behaviors.  There is more to learn about reception love, and especially about how it is key to maintaining lasting love relationships.  To do that learning, you may wish to read other mini-love-lessons at this site having to do with the behaviors of love.  You also can read the section on Receptional Love in my book, Recovering Love, which I am proud to say has especially helped a lot of people with this and related issues.  Another good source is Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt’s book Receiving Love which covers quite a few, in depth factors often involved in this very important topic.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being best, how do you rate yourself on being a good receiver of love, and what are you going to do to help yourself have an even higher score?


Behaviors That Give Love - The Basic Core Four

Synopsis: This mini love lesson gets you started on how to give healthy, real love as a useful step toward also being able to get it; then goes into the four most basic, core types of behavior discovered by research which convey healthy, real love.


How to Give Healthy, Real Love and Then Get It

To get love, learn to give it.  How do you do that, you ask.  A wonderful answer has been given to us by massive, expansive, long-range, wonderfully well done research conducted in social psychology.

That research has discovered 383 distinctive behaviors likely for stimulating feeling loved by the recipients of those behaviors.  Luckily, advanced, astonishing, ‘magical’, statistical analysis techniques now have boiled down all that to just eight simple groups of behavior, which you can learn .  In addition to that, clinical and field work by practitioners of relationship therapy have added all sorts of important goodies to this knowledge.

If you learn, practice and get good at the major ways of sending your love to others, all sorts of improvements in your life become likely.  A ton of research supports that contention.

Many people come to me asking how they can fall in love, become loved, find love, get love, be lovable, etc..  The first thing to do, I suggest, is concentrate and learn how to give healthy, real love.  Then practice and get really good at it.  At this site you can study what healthy, real love truly is and about the eight major categories of behavior that social psychologists and others have discovered which send, demonstrate, deliver and give healthy, real love directly to others. Plus there are four more larger, wide-ranging categories of how love is given, but first get the basics.

Presented here are the basic, core, four major ways to directly give love which lay down a groundwork for learning the rest.  Each of these can be applied to romantic love, spouse love, love of a child, friendship love, and many other types of love, including healthy self-love.

Introducing The Basic, Core Four

1.  Touch Love
Touch, or tactile love, is defined as physical contact which demonstrates loving affection, support, caring, comforting and also sensual and sexual loving, plus the special category of healing touch.  Touching with love perhaps is the most basic and oldest form of demonstrating love.  It probably is the first form of love people experience, usually beginning in the womb and very soon after birth.  Babies who do not receive loving touch die of ‘failure to thrive’ illnesses like marasmus even though they are otherwise well taken care of.

Before loving, holding, cuddling and stroking became part of the care program given to infant orphans, 99.9% of them died before reaching the age of two in the orphanages studied in North America and Europe.  It is feared that older people in various care facilities also may die sooner without loving touch.  There also is evidence to suggest that between those two age groups those who go without loving touch are far more likely to experience all kinds of serious, psychological disorders and perhaps physical ones also.  So, learn to do loving touch – a lot!

Take a look at the following list of words expressing how many different ways loving touch may be done.

Holding, hand holding, petting, stroking, caressing, cuddling, hugging, kissing, embracing, clasping, nuzzling, foot rubbing, snuggling, fondling, squeezing, tapping, light tickling, full body pressing, lap dancing , tease pinching, cupping and at least a dozen others for the sensual and erotic, love expressive, touch actions.

Why not get good at all of them?

Another category of tactile love involves healing touch.  To be lovingly touched when ill or injured, distressed, or in any way dysfunctional is known to be surprisingly healing, including at the physical level.  Wounded areas lovingly touched by someone loving you heal faster and better according to no small number of studies.

2.  Expressional Love
Expressional love probably is the second oldest and also is a very basic, quickly delivered form of showing love.  Expressional love is accomplished by loving expressions in your tones of voice, loving facial expressions, loving gestures and love communicated by posture movements.  If someone you love comes in the room and you stand up (posture movement expression), hold open your arms in welcoming (gesture expression), smile (facial expression) and say “aahh” in a most loving tone of voice (tonal expression) you probably have done a really good job of sending several bits of expressional love.

Most people are surprised to learn that in direct, personal, face-to-face communication only 7% of the communication is carried by the words being spoken.  Tonal expression conveys about 35% of the message and facial, gesture and body motion can convey 55% of the total message.  So, get good at studying what your tones, face, gesture and whole body movements are saying and help them speak of your love to those you love.

Become good at the looks and sounds of love and then it is more likely that those will flow back to you in greater abundance.  When you do this love-bonding becomes far more likely and love relationship health is nourished.  However, don’t do it for those reasons because the mere giving of love action does wonders for you whether you get anything in return from others or not.  Remember, real love is a free gift.

3.  Verbal Love
The words that convey love can add all sorts of power, intricacy, elaboration, understanding and magnificence to the way you deliver your love to another.  Verbal love includes words spoken and words written.  Verbal love simply is defined as the behavior of using words to convey and express love.

The simple “I love you” statements are perhaps the most common form of verbal love.  Pet names, nicknames, terms of endearment like sweetheart, darling, honey, etc., words expressing the many and varied, different emotions caused by love (remember, love itself is not an emotion but a powerful natural process), special made-up words shared only by intimately connecting lovers, words of passion when love is part of the passion, poetic and artful phraseology, positive humorous terms, double meanings, and other very personally expressive and descriptive word-craft all count here in the verbal expressions of love.

4.  Gift Love
Gift love is defined as presenting to a loved one tangible objects, resources, opportunities or experiences aimed at conveying love, and having no component of expecting a return action or object being sought.  Gift love is generally thought of in two major forms: those that are more tangible gifts like things attractively wrapped in boxes but also including resources like finances; and the other form of experience gifts like surprise birthday parties or a picnic date, offering opportunities counts here too like letting someone use your place for the party they are giving.
What is important is to enjoy the giving of the gift and let that be enough.  If the recipient of you gift enjoys it, says thanks, gives you something in return, or shows off your gift or makes laudatory statements to others on your behalf that’s all extra.  ‘Giving to get something back’ is not a gift, it’s a manipulation.

Experience gifts like taking someone to an event they really want to go to, playing music they really like to hear, or providing an opportunity for them to do something adventuresome, beautiful or extraordinary can be among the best of gifts.  For conveying intimate love sometimes unexpected, small gifts like a single rose can be more important than larger gifts like a whole bouquet when presented just right.  Gift love is best considered an ‘art form’ well worth learning and practicing.
To really learn and get into all eight of the major ways of directly giving healthy, real love I, perhaps egotistically, strongly recommend you read my book, Recovering Love, available through amazon.com, iuniverse.com, and others.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
Of the above, basic, core, four ways to give love which are you best at and how are you going to get even better at it?


What Your Brain Does with Love - Put Simply

Mini-Love-Lesson #208


Synopsis: Where your heart resides in your brain and what that has to do with the many emotions triggered by love; how feeding your brain love makes you healthy are all presented and surveyed in this mini-love-lesson; more.


The Heart in Your Brain

First, in cherished tones, you hear the words “I love you”, or perhaps you feel a tender loving touch, or maybe you see a precious sweet smile on the face of a beloved one, or it could be any of the 383 other loving behaviors (so far discovered, Swenson) which can activate your sensory systems to help you experience love.  Next, as your nerves are stimulated by a love input they send electrical messages to centers and circuits of your deeper, ancient, non-conscious brain designed for receiving and processing love.

That deeper part of your brain primarily is where your psychological heart resides.  It is where you process love, being loved and loving.  It also is the part of that sends out electrical and chemical messages to other parts of your brain and to many parts of your body activating them to function more healthfully, and generally to beneficially guide you.  Then those messages stimulate your brain to make a variety of neurochemical compounds which in turn help to make you conscious of starting to feel the many, various, good, emotional and physical feelings of love.

All of that happens mostly quite naturally, automatically and also largely non-consciously at first.  But your subconscious knows and is responding.  When it comes to love, it seems that the conscious, aware and thinking mind, to a large extent, gets bypassed at first.  Some have postulated that perhaps nature does not really trust the conscious mind to handle anything as important as love, other than to be aware of feeling it after it is up and running.  Notice, people tend more often to say things like “I realized I love him (or her)”, or “suddenly I just knew I loved (so-and-so)” rather than saying things like “I can tell I love that person a little bit and maybe that love is growing”.  That occasionally does happen.  Perhaps also that is why you can not feel your love for someone all the time but it is there all the time where you can draw on it when it is called for.

You purposely can come to sense love when it exists in you and, thus, know you love someone, but this is just the awareness of love and not the love itself.  Because love neurologically is not an emotion but rather a natural, complicated, internal, deep brain process which you sometimes feel or sense.  It also is a process which can give you a great many different emotions, among which are feeling loving, feeling loved and feeling lovable.

Love and Its Accompanying Emotions

While love happens, you frequently do become consciously aware of the feelings of being loved, and/or loving, or just a sense of love itself.  You also may get a wide range of other, accompanying, positive feelings which the experience of love triggers or sets off in your brain.  When love is being experienced, there can be accompanying positive feelings of tenderness, intimacy, ecstasy, serenity, passion, emotional closeness and connection, compassion, ebullience, preciousness, empathetic care, oceanic awareness and a great many other fantastic feelings.

Identifying love as only an emotion is grossly inaccurate and can lead to mis-judging its emotional richness, nature, power, importance and functional dynamics.  In turn, that can lead to a great many missed opportunities, misunderstandings and relational mistakes concerning love.  Some of those can be quite tragic.  Remember, feeling love is natural but love relating is learned.

Blocked and Anti-Love Interference

The whole love process described above can be blocked, confounded and in essence sabotaged by other things that go on both in your brain and in your life.  For instance, a former love relationship that was too often or too severely painful can cause you to be extra reluctant and cautious about entering a new love involvement.  If you have been trained or subconsciously programmed to be more oriented to one, or more, of the false forms of love you may greatly misinterpret or overlook a current, real love opportunity.

Too much emphasis on sexuality, romance, marriage or strong personal insecurity also can get in the way of healthy, real love development.  Substance addictions, compulsive avarice and status desires, plus simply plain ignorance about love also provides lots of dangers.  These are but some of the many things that can block or interfere with processing love healthfully and doing love-relating successfully.

Love and Your Brain for the More Anatomically Fascinated

You could skip this section if you are not intrigued about knowing some of the brain/body details of love’s psychoneurophysiology and neurochemistry.

There is a lot we don’t know yet and what we do know is like everything else about the brain – complicated.  Nevertheless, here is a little bit of more technical brain knowledge concerning what your brain does with love.  These knowledge bits can be used to lookup much more complete information than is given here.

First of all, the preponderance of research evidence shows love not to be an emotion like it is so often misidentified.  Rather, love, at least in part, is seen as a natural, very healthy, systemic, brain process involving many emotions and a whole lot more than that.  Brain-wise the process of love is more similar to the biological process of turning food into energy or your body’s systems and for keeping you free from infections than it is to being just a simple emotional feeling.  Unlike an emotion, real love is not a temporary, or frequently fleeting feeling.  Rather, once real love is established it likely is going to be with you from then on, and some postulate even after death.  A relationship may end but if there was real love that will remain even though there might be many contravening variables about other aspects of the relationship.

Your psychological heart mostly is in your brain’s limbic system.   Love processing involves a good many of your limbic system’s component parts.  Thought to be included are your insula, anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus and putamen, all of which show heightened activation when you come in contact with someone you feel love with or for.  Lower activation also occurs in the amygdala, posterior cingulate, and the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices in the right hemisphere of your brain.  Those changes in brain activity show love to be at least a twofold process.  One, increases good or positive feelings and the other decreases your negative or bad feelings.  Among those are a lowered sense of fear and a heightened sense of safety.  Changes in the activation rate of those brain parts also mean you become less outer environmentally aware and more internally and emotionally aware as the love process happens.  Worry decreases and as love-induced endorphins and dopamine levels increase so does your all-over sense of happiness and well-being.

Also thought to be probably involved with the love process in your brain are your hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal lobe, orbitofrontal cortex, septal area, corpus callosum, frontal lobe, fornex, mammillary bodies and limbic cortex.  Each of those may have to do with different aspects and factors of the love process.

When referring to a couple, some may say “they have chemistry” that certainly is true.  Love makes a host of neurochemical things happen.  Chemical changes in your brain and body frequently include changes in androgen, testosterone, pheromones, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, epinephrine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine, and that is just what researchers have discovered, it seems so far that I know about.  Each of those helps you process different aspects of loves dynamics.  For instance, oxytocin helps you with feeling love connected and bonded with another.  Please note, these are natural, good chemicals that are produced by our bodies when love occurs.  So, those who get lots of love in their lives don’t need similar kinds of pharmaceuticals or street drugs with potential toxic side effects.

From Your Brain to Your Body

The chemicals your brain makes when it is processing love go into your blood and flow through not only your brain but also through the rest of your body.  Everywhere they go they work to have a great variety of beneficial and healthful effects.  It seems that each of the three tiers and 12 major categories of loving behavior [see A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love] may trigger different, healthful benefits.  Some are quite invigorating, energizing and mobilizing for action.  Others are calming, soothing and make for antidepressant serenity.  Quite a few have various kinds of physical healing effects.  Others are more healing in a psychological sense.

Feeling loved from any source can sort of work like food giving you energy, sometimes a great deal of energy.  Feeling serenely loved especially is good for lowering stress and the body’s reactions to stress.  Feeling loving toward others brings on one set of physically healthful effects, while acting loving toward others adds another set of physically healthful, biophysical reactions.

Getting and giving different behaviors that convey love has a positive effect on your immune system’s functioning, can lower your bad cholesterol and can help your T cells fight cancer.  The health benefits go on and on, with research discovering more all the time.

Feeding Your Brain Love Makes You Healthy

Your psychological mind and your psychological heart are in your brain.  The brain is in your body and they are all linked together affecting each other.  Experiencing healthy, real love works like a vital health food and a rather miraculous medicine.  The more you interact with people you love, and are loved by the more your brain produces helpful responses that affect your entire body’s health.  This also seems true for those you like and those you are liked by.  More love equals more health.  That is what more and more research is showing.

The more you are absent from healthy, real love input, the more you are psycho-physically malnourished or even starved and the more likely you are to have a physical and/or psychological health malfunction.  Mixing a lot with people doing false love is like eating non-nourishing, junk food.  Even worse, is to be around and interact with negative, anti-love acting people.  That is akin to eating toxic and poisonous food.  Also bad for your health is a lack of healthy self-love, and self-hate and self negation are even worse.

If at your work, or somewhere else you spend time, involves a lot of contact with non-loving, false love or anti-loving people, you had best counterbalance that with healthy self-love and with others who love well.  Remember, it is very important to “love others as you love yourself”.  It is likely your health depends on it!

One More Thing

How about sharing and talking over this mini-love-lesson with a friend or two and, thus, spread some love knowledge into our rather love ignorant world.
As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question: How much real healthy love, shown physically and psychologically, have you been feeding your brain lately?


Bull Wrestling, Bull Dancing and Love Quarrels

Synopsis: How to tell if you are acting more like a bull dancer, a bull wrestler or the bull when you have conflicts with loved ones, and what to do about it – with love.


When you have a dispute, quarrel, argument or fight with a loved one do you go at it more like a bull wrestler, or a bull dancer or the bull?  In ancient Rome they used to select the biggest, strongest guy they could find and put him in the arena with a bull made angry for the occasion.  The bull would charge, if the bull wrestler survived his job was to grab the bull by the horns and wrestle the bull to the ground and then break its neck.  They lost a lot of bull wrestlers that way.  On the island of Crete and later on the Iberian Peninsula they developed entirely different ways of dealing with the angry bull.  Those ways became known as bull dancing.

Today those approaches survive in what we call bull fighting, but it is not fighting at all.  It is an elegant form of dancing in which the charging bull almost always loses.  Notice how this works.  A big, powerful, scary thing tries to attack the Matador.  The Matador does not wrestle the bull, does not run away, but instead he (or she) stands his or her ground, usually doesn’t get hit, and artfully dances the big, dark, horrible, powerful, charging horned thing right by.  In the Portuguese form they do this until the bull is exhausted and gives up and, thus, the bull gets to live as well as the Matador.


So, I ask, do you go about your conflicts with loved ones more like a Roman bull wrestlers or more like an artful bull dancer, or do you behave like the charging bull?   Bull wrestlers meet their charging opponent head on, get impacted, use up their power wrestling with their opponent’s every little move, and usually get wounded if not destroyed in the process.  Remember, only spectators go home uninjured.  Those who act like the bull start roaring and charge ahead full force trying to run over, stomp and gore their opponent any way they can.  Both the bull and the bull wrestler may have a lot of recovery to do if they survive their conflict.  Also if they have any future relationship with each other it is unlikely to be a positive one.

The bull dancer lets the bull charge and expend its energy while artfully stepping aside.  In ancient Crete bull dancers evolved their art into an amusement where they gymnastically somersaulted over the charging bull, bouncing off it and expertly played with it, thereby, finessing it into harmlessness, usually ending with the bull running around in circles until it got tired.  Bull dancers and the bull consequently developed an ongoing relationship with each other in which no one was likely to get hurt and they got to have fun with each other over and over again.

You are likely to be approaching things like the bull if you see ‘red flags’ often, quickly take offense, roar (scream, yell, etc.), get yourself angrily worked up, and go on the furious attack attempting to show your loved one how they are wrong, mistaken, stupid, bad, or worse.  You are likely to be acting like the bull wrestler if you just stand there getting hit, stomped and gored as you might fight back effectively or ineffectively while becoming defensive and ending up emotionally scarred and wounded in the process.  But there are a couple of other options.  You could act like a sacrificial victim and get slaughtered, or you might attempt to run away.

You are probably acting like a finessing, artful bull dancer when you remind yourself that the anger and upsetness of the bull tells you much more about the bull and what it gets itself upset about than about you or your qualities.  You’re a good finessing bull dancer when the bull attempts to gore you with blame, stomp you with accusations, or run over you with its rapid-fire logic and you let all that just go charging past, not take it to heart or let it get you in the gut.

Good listening skills are a lot like a Matador who first uses the Cape, helping the bull get all of its negative energy out.  It’s good to remind yourself with silent, self affirming statements that while the bull is roaring at you with complaint and dissatisfaction it is sort of like the Matador standing his or her ground and doing good, mental footwork to hold on to your position and to your okayness.

You probably know that all analogies break down if you extend them too far.  Being artfully able to deal with conflict coming at you, so you can get to a place where love and reason prevails is the real goal.  Being able to get to where you and those loved ones who seem to be in conflict with you can ‘work together against the problem’ instead of against each other is the best outcome.  You may feel like destroying the bull from time to time but to do so would kill the relationship.

So, the next time a conflict with a loved one starts to happen let me suggest you consider visualizing yourself doing the artful, elegant matador’s dance whereby the horns don’t get you and the bull has a chance to calm down.  You can, with love and cleverness, learn to finesse the charging bulls in your life right past you.  Then you can demonstrate your love and perhaps both of you can get to be OK with each other.  After that, if all goes well, together you can go against whatever the real problem seems to be.  That is sort of like getting to ride the bull out of the arena.

As always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
Are you tending to deal with difficulties with a loved one better, the same, or worse than the people you grew up around?


Immunity Boosting With and For Love

Mini-Love-Lesson   #271


Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson discusses the connection between healthy, real love and its psychobiological effect on our immunity systems; then gives 10 rather different, memorably named things to do for boosting one’s own immunity functioning which relate to both self-love and other love.


Healthy Love and A Healthy You

Did you know that love is extremely helpful to your immunity system, healing wounds and fending off diseases?  Yes, being in love relationships and experiencing healthy, real love works to improve maintain and strengthen your mechanisms for disease resistance and recovery.  The more you give, receive and do healthy, functional love the healthier you tend to get.  That is the conclusion to be drawn from literally hundreds of love and health related, scientific explorations into what makes immunity mechanisms work and improve.   

Note, that in many of these studies, the word “love” is not used but rather some other euphemistic term.  Sometimes researchers shy away from using the word love and instead use terms like “affectional bonding, emotionally intimate relationships, ongoing mated relating and, a favorite of mine, “stabilized biosocially & affectively interactive”.  I find it odd that quite a few scientifically oriented researchers seem to be uncomfortable with the word love except for comparative experimental psychologists and primatologists  Therefore, finding and collecting research reports on love is a bit complicated.

People in emotionally close, mutually rewarding relationships are constantly found to have better immunity functioning and disease resistance compared with those who do not have such relationships.  Also, as people enter into healthy, real, love bonded relationships their immunity mechanisms work better and they have significantly fewer infections, especially respiratory infections like colds and the flu.

Healthy Self-Love and Improved Immunity

For reasons of healthy self-love you can do quite a lot to help your own immunity system function better.  Also, for reasons of loving others, it is good to keep yourself healthy for their benefit as well as yours.  Both you and those others who love you want to keep you around so, learning to do what you can to help your protective systems operate optimally is loving, wise and reasonable.  To assist you with that, here are 10 actions you can take.  First, note that we will be using some odd, not (yet) real words because in their odd form they may assist you to think and remember these things about immunity boosting.  Finding easier lay terms to communicate about immunity issues may just be beginning.

10 IMMUNITY BOOSTING SELF-LOVE ACTIONS

All the following are suggestions and not medical directives.  Know your own physical condition in order to choose and use them wisely.

1. Love Connect.  As often as possible make loving contact with others psychologically, physically and safely.  This includes pets, especially dogs.  Face-to-face talk is great but also can be pretty significant if done on Skype or Zoom, etc.  Auditory phone talk allows you to experience your loved ones’ voices and the effect of their tones of voice on your reduction of stress hormone production can be significant, no matter what is being said if it said lovingly.

2. Sleep.  When we are sleep-deprived, our bodies get more susceptible to infections.  During sleep, our immunity mechanisms regenerate and repair our bodies as well as work to rejuvenate themselves.  Too little sleep and too destructive a sleep pattern works to de-power our immunity systems.  So, work to get enough, good sleep.

3. Sweat.  When we sweat we rid our bodies of toxic substances that lower our body’s ability to fight off disease, counter toxicity and maintain our biological balances.  Using really hot water (not to the point of injury) to sweat works well.  Hot tubs, spas, hot baths and hot showers, along with vigorous workouts, saunas, hard and fast action sports and anything else that gets perspiration flowing are also fine.  The relaxation effect of hot water increases stress reduction and endorphin production, both of which are very good for our immunity systems.

4. Vitaminize.  Our bodies will not and cannot fight viruses and bacteria effectively if we are vitamin deficient.  A One-A-Day multivitamin/multimineral is simple, quick and probably minimally sufficient.  If you are stressed more vitamin C, B complex and zinc often are recommended.  Check with the appropriate medical specialist for what is best for you individually.

5. Zincanate.  If we get zinc deficient our chances of getting sick, with a respiratory infection especially or other breathing complications, seem to go way up.  When we put zinc in our diet by eating legumes, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, some meats, oysters, crab, lobsters and/or taking a zinc supplement we are acting in a healthy self-love way.  See a healthy diet specialist to get it just right for you.

6. Fiberize.  Generally, the more fiber foods we eat the more beneficial bacteria we have helping our metabolism make our bodies more disease resistant.  Bananas, broccoli, avocado, sweet potatoes and almonds all can be helpful, along with many other vegetables and fruits.

7. Mediterraneanize.  More than 70% of our immunity functioning is heavily influenced by our diet.  Our digestive tract handles most of the pathogens and toxic chemicals that can harm us.  But it can not do that if we do not eat right.  Generally, what is called a Mediterranean Diet works well for lots of people, over time.  That diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, some lean meats, many types of seafood, whole-grain breads, olive oil and small portions of many other things, but not too many carbs if your life is rather sedentary.  It usually is best to avoid or limit heavily processed foods, white flour products, refined oils ,refined sugar and sugar-added-foods and especially large amounts of fatty meats.

8. Move.  Our bodies are built to move.  Without enough movement every waking hour, or so, we start to physically weaken and wane.  This, in turn, negatively affects our immunity system functioning.  Sufficient exercise enhances our in vivo responses to viral and destructive antigens and seems to delay immunological aging.  20 + minutes of fairly rigorous exercise, 3+ times a week seems to be the most common recommendation among health professionals. But even brisk walking can help if you are in the couch potato category.  You can find out what might be best for you individually from physical therapists, movement analysts, nurses, physicians and a wide variety of other health specialists.

9. Nasalate. Nasal passage health is also rather important so, give your nose and breathing some helpful attention.  Viruses get lodged in our noses, along with toxic particulate matter and other things you do not want residing there.  The longer they remain there, the more they can attack us, give our immunity systems problems and do us harm.  There are three main ways you might go about helping yourself here.  The first has to do with deep breathing exercises.  To sit straight and do deep and slow breathing for 1 minute, or more, twice or more a day makes a good start.  By the way, do not stand, we do not want you to faint if this is a new exercise to you or you have a troublesome breathing condition.

Learning yoga breathing exercises or other similar systems that get a lot of oxygen into our lungs and, thereby, boost blood circulation which helps our immunity mechanisms function better by quite a bit.  Another way has to do with aromatherapy.  That involves breathing various scents, aerosols, incense and mists recognized as having certain medicinal, generally therapeutic and anti-infection effects.  A third way has to do with using a nasal rinse to flush your nasal cavity of unwanted matter.  Sometimes that is coupled with the use of an antiseptically treated thread gently run through one’s nasal passage.  That makes for a bit of a delicate and moderately unpleasant experience, probably best first accomplished by someone well trained and acquainted with teaching the process.

10. Meditate.  Especially are health-oriented, self-love mindfulness meditation exercises associated with improved immune system functioning.  Research suggests such exercises can assist in the circulating of immune proteins which are good for fighting inflammations.  Meditation also is quite useful in stress reduction and the reduction of destructive, stressor hormone production.  Overall, healthfulness and vitality improvements also are indicated.

All 10 of the above, suggested ways are to be considered general guidelines to be checked-out by your primary health providers for their appropriateness to your individual situation and needs.

Relationship Well-Being and Its Effect on Immunity

Well functioning, love relationships can have a very positive effect on how well our immunity systems protect us.  Likewise, a poor functioning, love relationship frequently is highly stressful and, therefore, neurochemically bad for our biological, self-protection systems.  Also involved is our healthy, self-love functioning.  If it is good, probably so is our immunity system functioning more likely to be good.

One more thing.  We suggest you talk all this over with someone well trained in the healing arts, professions or sciences.  If you do that, please mention this site and all its health-related, mini-love lessons.  Thank you.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Have you meditated on the fact that you are a truly awesome, huge bundle of miraculous, interwoven systems and, therefore, you are not to be taken for granted or undervalued?  If you haven’t, please do!

Love Centering Yourself

Angie realized that she and her husband, Harlan, were getting into the same, old, familiar fight they had had a hundred times before.  They both were blaming each other for what was wrong and both were defending themselves in very offensive ways – like they always did.

The subject matter changed but the pattern of the fights remained the same, except the fights were getting worse and worse.  It took days to recover and their marriage was damaged a little bit more each time.

But wait.  Angie remembered a new ‘technique’ she had recently learned at a Healthy Love Workshop that she might be able to use instead of fighting.  She told Harlan she had to go to the bathroom and abruptly left the scene of their often repeated, old, marital battle.  In the bathroom she worked at remembering and reminding herself of the major aspects of what the workshop leader had called The Love Centering Technique.  Then silently she  practiced the breathing, movement and meditation behaviors she had learned at the workshop.  She did this for just three minutes.  She noticed she felt calmer and more powerful, and she was thinking differently – perhaps more clearly and far less defensively.

She then went back to Harlan who was even more angry than when she left.  She heard somehow differently what he was furiously saying.  She, herself, said far less than before and she spoke in much kinder yet firm tones of voice.  She also noticed her face was more relaxed and thought probably her facial expressions were less severe than before, perhaps occasionally she even looked softer.  When evaluating this she managed a brief, small smile.  The smile seemed to confuse Harlan and slow him down.  Then Angie became aware that, while she still felt quite firm, she was no longer angry and, even better, she was no longer feeling so hurt and vulnerable with what Harlan had been derogatorily screaming at her.  She was thinking more clearly and wanted to come up with ideas that might help to go in a positive direction.

Angie subtly continued to do the breathing, movement and calm thinking she had learned and she realized she was seeing and hearing the frustration and hurt behind her husband’s angry words, and it dawned on Angie that she was starting to feel a distinct sense of love for her husband.  Feeling sorry for him came next.  She could see he was caught up in an agonizing pattern of their terrible fight habits.  However, this time she was not.  Angie began to speak to Harlan in very kind tones of voice saying she understood he was hurting and she cared.  Harlan became befuddled and he could not quite maintain the intensity of his accusations and blaming statements, though he continued to try.  

After a while Harlan was expressing only his hurt and Angie, while accepting no blame, showed that she truly was sad that they both were often deeply hurt by this way of dealing with each other.  She reached out and softly touched Harlan and he looked even more bewildered, but then he began to be less awful and just a bit more kind.  Slowly their ‘argument’ turned into a ‘talk’ and finally in silence they held hands not knowing what else to do.  Soon they hugged and went about doing regular things, both in a much better place.

Nothing was verbally resolved, no decisions made, and no apologies delivered yet Angie and Harlan had started treating each other in a cautiously, yet distinctly, more loving way. This change happened right in the midst of Angie and Harlan’s marital difficulties and that had never happened before.  Could this be the start of something new and better, and could Angie be the catalyst for repeat performances of this new way of dealing with each other?

According to Angie’s description, by love centering herself before re-engaging her husband she had triggered both of them into a new way of responding to each another.  She repeated this love centering technique each time she and Harlan began to have difficulties with each other.  It didn’t always work perfectly but it worked far better than the old habit patterns that were destroying them as a couple.  Angie’s understanding is that sometimes one person, intelligently and purposefully, can use the power of love to change a couple’s destructive dynamics and do something constructive instead.  It is even better and faster when both people are working to make that change but, yes, one person can make a difference.

Angie and Harlan have since both learned ‘love centering’ and used it in a number of other situations.  Angie used it before having “the sex education talk” with her daughter.  Harlan used it before going into a contentious, dispute resolution conference at work.  You see, love centering is an act of self love too; it physiologically, psychologically and emotionally helps one to center in a calmer, stronger, healthier place in order to act more positively and beneficially in most situations.  Angie and Harlan together used love centering as part of a drug intervention experience with a family member.

Angie found it extremely useful before going to comfort a friend who had just lost a spouse to cancer.  Harlan and Angie say that each time they have used love centering it has helped them do a hard thing better.  Angie knows that love centering probably is a technique that will not work for everyone and that some people would find it far harder to learn and practice than others.  Nevertheless, she, and now Harlan too, are strong advocates of the love centering technique and they urge everyone to give it at least some study and consideration.

If you are interested in this technique and if you work at it you may be able to teach yourself love centering.  This technique seems to be most easily learned by those who are good with affirmations, meditation and introspection practices, and those trained in certain Eastern philosophies and disciplines.  However, a wide spectrum of people have learned and found love centering well worth their while.

The love centering technique itself is a quick, simple procedure that may make you healthier, happier and more generally effective in your interactions with others.  Love centering also may make all your love relationships go better and may make your dealings with difficult people go smoother.  And love centering has been known to be profoundly effective in helping people improve their relationship with themselves.  Even if you lose an altercation if you go into it love centered, and maintain that attitude, you are likely to lose less and come out much better.

Essentially love centering is a brief, meditation affirmation technique.  It also can be done prayerfully as a simple, short spiritual practice.  Love centering counters being ‘centered’ in self-defeating, negative emotions.  If you let yourself become centered in fear, anger, money lust, status, etc. you are likely to be sabotaging your own psychological health even when you are outwardly victorious in regard to the subject.  Love centering also has been a great help to a number of individuals seeking to bring forth their best and most able selves.

If you wish to maximize your competency, release your constructive and creative powers, and generally do life better, love centering may provide you with a very useful tool.  Love centering is suspected of being physically healthful especially when facing difficult, high pressure situations.  It appears to help deal with stressors, counters stress reactions and helps the brain produce healthful neurochemistry.  It also may influence longevity.

There are several approaches to love centering.  One works like this.  To do a full, class ‘A’, love centering exercise it is best to start by getting off to yourself so you can remain isolated from others for six minutes at the very least.  Once you are alone sit down in a straight and symmetrical posture with your arms hanging down at your sides or placed comfortably in your lap, with both feet on the ground, with your head up and looking straight forward.  Putting a sense of energy or intensity into it, slowly think silently to yourself, “I am now going to center myself in love”, then pause and take in and exhale a deep, slow breath.  Then think, “I am centering myself in love.”  Pause and take another deep, slow breath.  Now think, “I am centered in love”.

Take a third deep, slow breath and exhale it slowly.  You can repeat this three times or more to help you get into a feeling of being centered in love if needed.  If you prefer you also can say these words out loud, but remember, do everything quite slowly.  As you do this, imagine that love and its awesome, universal strength is flowing all over and through your body, from the universe toward your heart.

Imagine your heart filling up with amazingly powerful, wondrous and serene love.  As you do this continue to breathe deeply and slowly, relax your arms, open your hands and slowly raise your arms over your head.  At this point you might think, “I raise my arms to the universe to symbolically connect with a great love force in the universe.  I open myself to that love and let it flow into me.”  Then symbolically you might scoop a big handful of that love and slowly bring your hands to the center of your chest while you think, “I bring that love into my heart” as you gently press the palms of your hands to the center of your chest.

Continue to breathe deeply and slowly and imagine your heart filling with exquisite, powerful love.  Then you can think, “I center myself in love and only love”.  Repeat this three times.  Let your arms relax and go back to hanging at your sides or placed in your lap.  Repeat this entire sequence of movements and thoughts three times or more while remembering to breathe slowly and deeply.
An important next step is to bring your hands to your heart center and meditatively and purposefully say to yourself, “I center myself in love, not in fear, or anger, or worry or anything else besides love. 

I fill my heart with love and its awesome power.  I will let love radiate out from my heart to my whole being and to everyone I am soon to encounter”.  Repeat this two to five times.  Then with hands remaining at your heart, and remembering to breathe slowly, resolutely say to yourself, “I center myself in love and I will powerfully and effectively come from love for the people (or person) I am about to deal with and toward myself.  I will let love empower and inform all that I’m about to do.”  Slowly repeat that two to five times.

After doing this meditative affirmational exercise take one last deep breath and notice how you feel.  If you feel love empowered, loving and lovable, calm and confident then go forward toward what you have set yourself to do.  If you do not feel sufficiently empowered repeat the exercise again.  After that if you still do not feel sufficiently love filled and love centered to be able to act with and from love you might do one of two things.

You can admit you are not now making this exercise work for you and so it may be best to go on to something else and maybe try again later, or you could blame the exercise and say it doesn’t work and never try it again.  Do remember that nothing works for everyone and nothing works every time.  If it’s not working for you, or at least not working yet, don’t be negative to yourself about that, don’t ‘beat up’ on yourself because that would be de-powering, poor self-love, inaccurate and inappropriate.

After love centering yourself and doing whatever you have set out to do you may wish to evaluate how loving and how successful you were in your post-love centering endeavor.  In my experience a good number of people find the more they do love centering the better it works for them.  However, that is not everyone’s experience.  As we have noted before it is not expected that this sort of technique will work for everybody.  Meditative, affirmational and inner, self oriented approaches are highly useful for some, but not for all.

Becoming good at love centering usually decreases the amount of time it takes to get there and the more powerful it becomes.  It’s like exercising a muscle, use your ‘love muscle’ often and it will be there quickly and strongly when you need it.

There are many possible alterations, adaptations and differing applications to love centered approaches.  For instance Luke uses love centering in his work as a labor relations contract negotiator.  He says it helps him keep the parties involved from getting angry at each other which sabotages the negotiations.  Laura uses it as a hospice nurse dealing with grieving relatives.  Riley has found it helpful in certain difficult situations he faces as a policeman.  Suzanne and Sheila say it was love centering that got them past their decade’s old, sibling rivalry problem.

Lots of people alter the words used and that’s good because when you are saying your own words it’s often more effective.  After practicing this technique often the words can be shortened.  Jesse said all he needs to say to himself is, “I center myself in love and its great strength, and with love I will remain calm, compassionate, carrying and able to reason” before he goes in to preside over the next family court session as a judge.

Some people minimize the motions and behaviors involved in love centering.  In the midst of an argumentative difficulty Tonya takes a slightly deeper breath, and discreetly raises one hand to the middle of her heart area silently saying to herself, “I am centering myself in love now” and then carries on with her work at a complaints desk in a large corporation.

To see if love centering can work for you I suggest you ‘try it on for size’ about five times in its full form.  It usually takes that to get a sufficient feel for it.  If it’s not working by then it’s likely not a practice that fits you sufficiently.  Of course it has to be tried sincerely and with some energy.  If you think your skeptical, doubtful mind will be a difficulty as you try to do this you may be in a sort of resistant or self defeat mode and not able to experiment with this technique at this time.  That’s okay, there are lots of other things to do.

However, your skeptical mind need not fully believe in this kind of technique because it is accomplished by ‘doing’ rather than ‘believing’.  Of course, deciding it won’t work for you before you have really tried it probably will result in it not working for you because of the dynamics of self-fulfilling prophecies.  It is my suggestion that you consider it, experiment with it, and discover if you can make your life a more love empower life by using this tool called The Love Centering Technique.

As always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
Do you have people in your life who often seem to be coming from love toward you and toward almost everyone else?  If you do are you studying and to some degree copying them?