Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

Ever had "a micro-moment of positivity resonance?"

That's love, says psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, whose new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become attempts to reframe how we view the sensation – and help "lonely" people survive Valentine's Day this year.

Fredrickson, who researches positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, argues that love is "not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship," writes Emily Esfahani Smith at The Atlantic.

Story continues below advertisement

Instead, Fredrickson believes that love happens in much smaller bursts through the in-person connections we make daily, from lovers and close friends to children – but also much more temporarily with your work peeps or even a stranger in a restaurant. Drilling into the biology of "positivity resonance," Smith writes that you have to be in physical proximity of the other person to experience the micro-moment, and that a cocktail of mirror neurons, oxytocin and something called "vagal tone" is necessary for the good vibes to take hold.

"My conception of love," Fredrickson told The Atlantic, "gives hope to people who are single or divorced or widowed this Valentine's Day to find smaller ways to experience love."

"I love the idea that it lowers the bar of love," she continued. "If you don't have a Valentine, that doesn't mean that you don't have love. It puts love much more in our reach everyday regardless of our relationship status."

I'm sure all those solo diners who have to vacate their favourite restaurants come Feb. 14 will be thrilled to hear it.

Fredrickson's idea is reminiscent of the book The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want. The authors, two women who were clawing to find love in New York, defined the "gaggle" as the group of men in a woman's life who fulfill different roles and needs, helping a girl figure out what she's actually after. One part of the gaggle approach is to treat every interaction with men as potentially flirtatious: "The potential for love is all around you" is the mantra here as well.

Is "positivity resonance" a healthy way of looking at love, or is it denial?

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies