More than 26,000 people responded. All of the participants were randomly assigned to one of a handful of groups and asked to carry out various exercises designed to make them happier… When it came to increasing happiness, those altering their facial expressions came out on top of the class— powerful evidence that the As If principle can generate emotions outside the laboratory and that such feelings are long-lasting and powerful.
At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous bad divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which-after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing-gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to "turn on all the lights" when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert's memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.
To this day, I admit, I’m not entirely sure how to use this information. I cannot quite bring myself to make an official motto out of “Ask for less!” Nor can I imagine advising a young woman on the eve of her marriage to lower her expectations in life in order to be happy. Such thinking runs contrary to every modern teaching I’ve ever absorbed. Also, I’ve seen this tactic backfire. I had a friend from college who deliberately narrowed down her life’s options, as though to vaccinate herself against overly ambitious expectations. She skipped a career and ignored the lure of travel to instead move back home and marry her high school sweetheart. With unwavering confidence, she announced that she would become “only” a wife and mother. The simplicity of this arrangement felt utterly safe to her—certainly compared to the convulsions of indecision that so many of her more ambitious peers (myself included) were suffering. But when her husband left her twelve years later for a younger woman, my friend’s rage and sense of betrayal were as ferocious as anything I’ve ever seen. She virtually imploded with resentment—not so much against her husband, but against the universe, which she perceived to have broken a sacred contract with her.
But perhaps this isn’t the complete picture. While happiness is generally understood as a mood, there are other ways to understand happiness. Let’s look at an analogy, health. We know that it is possible to be wrong about our state of health. You may feel great but be on death’s door. People drop dead of heart attacks without warning. You go for your annual check-up with no complaints only to have blood tests returned with bad news.
Another thought provoking post! Thank you for all you do.To me truthfulness and trust are the base for a long term relationship. Mutual respect is also a major component, and although theoretically both partners are supposed to work at making it , i think the man plays a more important role, in that if he is a responsible provider andis supportive and caring of his partners feelings, the relationship has much better chances of working out. The problem is how to find such a guy 🙂
Stop comparing yourself to others. If you learn to look at your life on its own terms instead of wishing you had as much money, as many friends, or the same amazing body as the person next to you, then you’ll be able to let go of bitterness and jealousy. Remind yourself that each and every person has his own struggles and strong suits, and that you can’t have everything – and neither can anyone else. Focus on doing your own thing instead of looking around you and you’ll quickly feel happier for it.
Isn’t that beautiful? When it comes to God, you don’t have to pick whether you want committed love or compassionate love. He encircles you, surrounds you. You are swimming in and exalted by his committed, compassionate love. He doesn’t just love you legally, which is true, right? Jesus died for your sins, so God loves you and he won’t hold you accountable for a sin that his Son died for. Legally, he loves you in that way. But it is more than that! His heart is moved with compassion for you.
Still, with the Code restrictions in place, romance comics could not compete with the other mediums were aggressively vying for consumer dollars without censorship. First, there was the growing underground comix market, which featured unrestricted and uncensored writing and often contained graphic sex and nudity. Second, Harlequin Books began producing more and more novels, which enticed readers with their painted covers and flowery prose. Finally, romance comics simply couldn’t compete with the growing popularity and presence of television, specifically the soap opera, which featured many of the themes present in romance comics and provided free daily gratification. This is especially true when you factor in that comics were moving to the direct market, which focus on superhero comics.
We are lucky to live in a time when our brain is increasingly well understood. You can learn how to feel good by turning on your happy chemicals in new ways. No one can do this for you and you cannot do it for someone else. This chapter outlines specific suggestions for new roads to dopamine happiness, endorphin happiness, oxytocin happiness, and serotonin happiness.
Like many other things in the golden age of comics, romance comics find their roots in other popular fiction and literature. Romance novels were released as early as 1740 with Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (also titled Virtue Rewarded). Of course, Jane Austin popularized the genre with the success of books like Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. These classical literary roots gave rise to more mainstream books as the pulp market gained popularity in the early twentieth century. In fact, romance magazines were one of the top three most popular genres of the pulps (along with westerns and detective stories). When you factor in all the romantic stories that also appeared in the “more respectable” weekly magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls, and Redbook, it becomes clear that love permeated the popular culture consciousness of the time.
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Well put, Mrs. Garapick 🙂 To me commitment is putting the other person's needs above yours even as your significant other does the same. That attitude brings about awareness and breeds compromise. I seem to have found this level of commitment with the woderful man I'm with. I truly truly thank YOU, Jane, for your insight on how to proceed to get the relationship I want. It truly works! I'm so in love and he's so in love with me! Its like we can't get enough of each other, even after we fight! Lol Thank you!
Think more positively. The easiest way to become happier is to make an effort to be a more optimistic person. You may think that some people are more negative than others, but this is lazy thinking that can keep you from being happier than you are today. Your personal situation may not be in your control, but you can always control your perspective, and making the effort to look at the bright side of any situation instead of focusing on all of the negative aspects you see will make you be a happier person.
12 In her 1984 study on the popular romance genre, Margaret Ann Jensen suggests that the category romance cover is composed according to a very strict code in order to indicate the narrative’s level of sensuality: “The position of the hero and heroine on the books’ cover is a good indication of how much sex there is in the romance. If they are not touching at all, the story does not have any sex scenes. If they are touching, the degree of sexuality escalates, with different touching positions symbolizing the amount of sexual involvement: “hands above waist=innocent frolic; hand below the waist or on the breast = sexual; prone positions=keep this in a locked drawer” (Kolb, “Checking Out The Categories” 41). The pictures also tell the readers how sexually responsive and aggressive the heroine is, as there are two types of embrace – the “hesitant heroine’s” and the “cognizant heroine’s”: “The first kind is the more traditional portrayal of female sexuality and indicates that the hero pursues the heroine, who resists and perhaps capitulates, against her better judgment. The second kind of embrace is a departure from traditional sexual encounters and indicates that the heroine is responsive and probably even active in the pursuit of romantic-sexual gratification” (Kolb, “The Books You Judge By Their Covers” 62-63). Although Jensen’s and Kolb’s observations might have been accurate in the late 1970s and early 1980s, category romance novel covers are no longer composed according to such strict rules. Still, the observation is indicative of the highly coded nature of the romance novel cover.
17The clinch image carries a double semiotic code and has the potential to be interpreted differently by the public and the romance reader. To the public at large, the clinch image likely signifies simply the genre identity of the popular romance. This interpretation is based on the strong semantic connection between this image and the popular romance genre that exists in our culture as a result of the incessant reformulation of this type of image on the front cover of category romance novels since the 1970s.10 As a visually striking and instantly recognizable image with only a limited range of potential variations, the clinch quickly attained an iconic status and has become the cover design shorthand par excellence for popular romance. Although the constant reformulations of the image on a seemingly endless string of category romance front covers reinforce and perpetuate a number of cultural stereotypes about the romance genre, including interpretations of the genre as formulaic, overly sexualized and more than a little ridiculous, the category romance is steadfast in its love for the clinch cover.11
So I hope by now you know whether you are in a committed love relationship or just a romantic one. Every relationship is beautiful as long as you know what your heart really feels. So analyze the aspects of your relationship to understand what it really is and where it’s headed. Once the butterflies in your tummy settle down, only then will you be able to think clearly! So enjoy the love you have and let the love take you higher…
Never having written a review before, I felt I needed to say something about this book and this series. This book, the meeting, dating and romance and love of Nell and Daniel was entertaining, funny, understandably nerve-wracking, and oh so real. I love these people. As a female computer scientist, going to school in the 70's, it did not surprise me that Daniel would not take Nell's coding skills seriously. Nor was I surprised by how this hacker-jock would be tied in knots by Nell the women. But, the getting from meeting to marrying was as real (and happy and sad) as any I have known. The book was a joy. The series is so much more.
When market congestion caused the roof to fall in, Marvel cut its 31 romance titles down to 7. Quality cancelled all 14 of its titles and brought back three of them six months later in 1951. The other companies either scaled down the romance thing or got out of it. There were even a couple who had published moderately before the glut and continued moderately after it. But what about Fox? Fox got rid of all 21 of its love books, mostly by converting them into other genres: My Love Affair became March of Crime at #7 after only six issues; My past continued as Crimes Inc after #11; Women in Love became Feature Presentation after four issues; My Experience changed again, this time to Judy Canova after #22; My Love story became Hoot Gibson; My Great Love became Will Rogers Western; My Secret Affair became Martin Kane , Private Eye from #4; My Secret Romance became Star Presentation from #3; My intimate Affair changed to Inside Crime; My Private Life became Pedro Fox at #18 after previously being
Another important chemical is Norepinephrine, this is the chemical that makes you feel hot and have butterflies in your tummy when the person you want looks at you. It’s a stress hormone, it also causes an awkward feeling and cause them to have sweaty palms as well. Also a dry mouth and for someone to be nervous and mess up their words when talking to the person you like. This is the hormone that has people constantly smiling after their first kiss, or when they are together and they can’t fight the feeling of happiness. Last important chemical is MHC is a group of genes that control the molecules that are on the surface. MHC levels come out when sweating and through body odor and also through saliva.
Correctly “reading” the signs of commitment in a potential long-term partner is crucial. This is most important earlier on, of course, prior to “settling down” with someone, particularly when one partner wants to know if the relationship has a future. You can press for this information too soon, but you can also wait too long to get the big question clarified: Is this person as into me as I am into them? Can this relationship turn into a commitment? When you don’t get solid information about commitment as things progress, you can miss important signs of unequal commitment. That’s a lousy place to land.
2 Although academic work on the popular romance genre remains minimal in comparison to the academic work being done on other popular genres, a relatively small number of studies on the genre have been completed since the early 1980s. Academic attention has particularly increased over the last five years due to the establishment of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) in 2009 and the launch of the academic peer-reviewed Journal of Popular Romance Studies in 2010. For more on these recent developments and an overview of the history of the burgeoning field of “popular romance studies,” see Kay Mussel’s “Where’s Love Gone?,” Pamela Regis’ “What Do Critics Owe the Romance Novel?,” An Goris’ “Matricide in Romance Scholarship?” and Eric Murphy Selinger and Sarah S.G. Frantz’s New Perspectives on the Popular Romance Novel.
Relationships, even committed and loving ones, aren't always easy. While you'll have your fair share of ups, you can also expect some downs as well. Expecting the intense passion instant love or infatuation brings to stick around may let you down in the long run. A committed relationship requires both partners to move through the good and the bad parts of the romance. Staying together when you're arguing, and not just when you're gleefully head over heals about each other, shows that the two of you have a strong commitment.
Oxytocin works both ways. When other people trust you, it feels good whether or not you trust them. You can enjoy more oxytocin by creating opportunities for people to trust you. Handle this strategy with care—you do not want to be the rescuer of everyone you know forty-five days from now. Your goal is simply to feel the pleasure of another person’s trust for a moment each day as a way to feel happier in your daily life. Of course, you can’t force other people to trust you, and it may take more than a moment to extend yourself in ways that build trust. Do not spend a lot of time seeking approval. Simply honor your commitments, and then pause to enjoy being a person who honors her commitments. It may sound self-important, but the circuit it builds is the foundation of future trust. So plan to honor your commitments scrupulously for forty-five days. This is how to feel good simply by increasing trust with yourself and others.
We Americans often say that marriage is “hard work.” I’m not sure the Hmong would understand this notion. Life is hard work, of course, and work is very hard work—I’m quite certain they would agree with those statements—but how does marriage become hard work? Here’s how: Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work. A recent survey of young American women found that what women are seeking these days in a husband—more than anything else—is a man who will “inspire” them, which is, by any measure, a tall order. As a point of comparison, young women of the same age, surveyed back in the 1920s, were more likely to choose a partner based on qualities such as “decency,” or “honesty,” or his ability to provide for a family. But that’s not enough anymore. Now we want to be inspired by our spouses! Daily! Step to it, honey!
Which is exactly how I’ve felt lately. I know my life is full of good things—I have wonderful friends, wonderful parents, and I love what I do. But, as someone who tends to overthink things, I’ve been feeling a little let down about some things in my life that aren’t working out as well as I’d hoped—like a recent breakup, uncertainty about my career path, and not exactly loving where I live.
Laughter is not just a way to feel good, it’s a release of fear. Imagine laughing with relief after a close call with a snake. Social risks are more common than predator risk in modern life, and we often fear expressing a socially unacceptable emotion. Social shunning is a real survival threat in the state of nature, so we are wired to take these things seriously. Comedians often express socially risky feelings. When they survive, the part of you that fears shunning laughs with relief. You can think of laughing as creating safety instead of thinking it’s frivolous.
One of the very first signs of commitment in a relationship is when two people spend lots of time together. Outside of normal working hours and with all the things you could be doing in a day, there usually isn’t much time left over to spare. And since time is one of the few commodities that none of us can get back, the fact that you and your significant other choose to make time for each other on a regular basis is a good sign that you’re both committed.
There’s a reason why people always talk about faking it ‘til you make it: “When we smile, the muscles in our face send signals to our brain that help create — biologically — a better mood than when we frown,” said positive psychologist Barbara Holstein, EdD, who has a private practice in Long Branch, N.J. It might sound silly, but Holstein encourages people to sit for a minute and just grin. Or better yet, smile at someone. This helps establish immediate connection — another key to feeling upbeat.
People seem to have a pretty good understanding of what love feels like, and we do a good job respecting love as an important feeling. But our culture sends a pretty contradictory message about what commitment is. We say marriage requires love and commitment, and yet somehow “love is all you need” prevails as a logical sentiment. Our collective divorce rate speaks for our confusion.
I used to be such a starry-eyed believer of love. I thought that love conquered all - and that as long as you shared that feeling with someone, it meant that the relationship would last. In the theory of fairytales and movies, this may be the case, but in North American reality - not quite. Instead, love is only one of the many ingredients needed for a long-lasting partnership. But the concerning issue is - people put so much weight on the feeling of love, a feeling that inevitably changes, takes different forms and can get blinded easily.
But what about that consistency we all crave, which comes only from true commitment? That’s a lot harder. But absolutely possible. Commitment begins with desire. Each person has to want it and be willing to sacrifice for the other. It takes shifting the way we view ourselves and giving up something, in order to give to someone else. Thing is, it’s not as hard as you might think.
It’s natural to trust your current likes and dislikes when you think that will make you feel happy. But now you know that they’re based on accidents of experience rather than complete information. Your accidental circuits cause the threatened feeling you get when you depart from the road you know. If you avoid the threatened feeling by sticking to the old road, you miss out on a universe of potential happiness. You can learn to enjoy the challenge of embarking on a new road to feel good.
Here are the various types of chemicals that help you in the process of falling in love and also help trigger the feelings you have. Oxytocin is the chemical that calms a couple down, it also it bonds them together as well. This chemical promotes intimacy, it’s when you’re kissing, hugging, touching each other that this chemical is released. Also this chemical is released when you’re a new mom and you start producing milk, it helps you bond with your child. A chemical that is said is mainly for men, can also be found in women. Testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced in the testes of men. This helps the development of male sex characteristics, for example their deep voice and growing facial hair. Having high levels are good for men’s health. Dopamine being more of a pleasure chemical, it plays a very big role when one is gambling, while in the use of drugs and also when in love of course. When dopamine is released it makes couples feel energetic for each other. When with the person they love their dopamine system is now activated and that’s what triggers the certain behavior that the person they love is the only person in the world that matters.
“Committed to Love” is a deeply personal one. It details the many issues and experiences I had to confront and deal with in my twenty-five-year marriage to a bisexual man who succumbed to AIDS. The twenty-four chapters in this book range from his diagnosis on June 19, 1992, with AIDS related pneumonia to his death on August 17, 1994. Every aspect of my relationship with Dr. Jeffrey A. Mintz, both as my best friend of thirty-seven years and my husband of twenty-five is explored in explicit detail. The challenge of a marriage under these circumstances was to say the least, both chaotic yet most rewarding. My thoughts about love evoked images of champagne, roses, and chocolates. Yes, I had a lot of all of them in my marriage, but the reality and truth about my life with him was that the word love for me had always meant commitment, unconditional acceptance, and facing every problem with a solution even if I didn’t know what the solution would be.
14 This interpretation of the category romance’s poetic functioning is in line with suggestions made by literary scholar Thomas Roberts, who compares the often misconceived aesthetic mechanisms underlying popular fiction (which he refers to as “vernacular fiction”) to those at play in canonical poetry (such as the Spenserian stanza): “As suggested earlier, the pattern seems to play much the same role in vernacular fiction that the metrical scheme plays in a poem. In both cases, readers sense the formal scheme as the norm that permits them to appreciate the figural variations. The writers are like the jazz musicians who give us a familiar melody at the opening of the piece so that we understand the variations that follow. We do not listen for that melody. We listen for the variation” (165-166).
As humans, we naturally seek out a connection with others and desire to feel as if we are needed. Finding a cause to get behind can help you to feel as if you are contributing to the common good. Whether it is a social justice issue or an environmental movement, there are many different opportunities to focus your time and energy to help you feel needed.
19Various elements of the clinch image are subjected to this genre-internal system of secondary codification. For example, the attire worn by the cover models can function as a code for the novel’s subgenre. That models on the cover of historical category romances wear clothes that are instantly recognizable as period costumes comes as no big surprise and is a fairly obvious example of such a secondary codification of the clinch image. Other clothing-based codifications that are common in the romance genre are perhaps less obvious to the public at large. The relatively recent trend in paranormal romance to deck out cover models (particularly women) in leather clothing is probably not well-known outside the genre. Nonetheless, as romance bloggers Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan have observed, within the romance genre a female cover model dressed in leather or spandex-like clothing serves as a reliable semiotic sign that the novel in question features a paranormal storyline (178).
All that said, though, I am somebody who has spent a large chunk of her professional life interviewing people, and I trust my ability to watch and listen closely. Moreover, like all of us, whenever I enter the family homes of strangers, I am quick to notice the ways in which they may look at or do things differently than my family looks at or does things. Let us say, then, that my role that day in that Hmong household was that of a more-than-averagely observant visitor who was paying a more-than-average amount of attention to her more-than-averagely expressive hosts. In that role, and only in that role, I feel fairly confident reporting what I did not see happening that day in Mai’s grandmother’s house. I did not see a group of women sitting around weaving overexamined myths and cautionary tales about their marriages. The reason I found this so notable was that I have watched women all over the world weave overexamined myths and cautionary tales about their marriages, in all sorts of mixed company, and at the slightest provocation. But the Hmong ladies did not seem remotely interested in doing that. Nor did I see these Hmong women crafting the character of “the husband” into either the hero or the villain in some vast, complex, and epic Story of the Emotional Self.
13 For the experienced romance reader the difference between these particular lines is in fact even more complex since the line that is now called Harlequin Desire used to be called Silhouette Desire and was published by Harlequin’s subsidiary Silhouette. This subsidiary had a somewhat different profile than Harlequin itself, which was the result of the complex institutional history of the category romance market. Silhouette was originally founded in the early 1980s as a separate publisher and one of the main competitors to Harlequin in the category romance market. This competition ended when Torstar, Harlequin’s parent company, acquired Silhouette in 1984. Although from then on the two publishers essentially belonged to the same business conglomerate, Silhouette continued to be developed as a separate brand name with a somewhat more modern, progressive and specifically American profile than the Canadian Harlequin. Over time the differences between the two brands became less and less pronounced, and in April 2011 the Silhouette brand was discontinued and the imprints published under this brand, such as the Silhouette Desire line, underwent a slight name change. The distinction between Harlequin and Silhouette (or between such lines as Harlequin Desire and Harlequin Blaze) may seem insignificant to readers who are unfamiliar with the category market and its complex institutional history, yet it is highly significant to experienced romance readers, as is indicated by the fact that the two brands existed side by side within one publisher for twenty-five years. For more on this complex institutional history of the genre, see Paul Grescoe’s The Merchants of Venus: Inside Harlequin and the Empire of Romance and Joseph McAleer’s Passion’s Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon.
Marissa gazed up at Kyle and slowly shook her head. “I can’t. What kind of matchmaker would swoop in and take the prize catch for herself ? No client would ever trust me again.” Upping his game, Kyle raised a finger to her face and sketched a soft stroke down the length of her throat. Her eyelids fluttered, her lips parting of their own accord. “What are we doing ?” she whispered helplessly, clutching his shoulder as if she were hanging on for dear life. “Being impulsive.” He licked his way into the curve of her shoulder and she shivered. “Isn’t it the best ?” “I’m not impulsive,” she said, even as she arched her neck to give him more room to work. He ran his tongue along the same spot over and over until she trembled. “You are now.” (Rock 1)
Spend more time outside. Just going outside and breathing in fresh air and letting the sun fall on your face is guaranteed to make you feel happier. If you have something to do that you can do outside, change your plan to accommodate the sunshine. If you were just going to read a book in your dark, stuffy room, go read in the park instead. If you’re having lunch with a friend at a café, ask for outdoor seating. Being outside – provided that you’re not in the middle of a storm – is guaranteed to make you feel happier.