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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What's love got to do with it?

In her 1984 hit song, Tina Turner asks, “What’s love got to do with it?” suggesting it’s nothing but a “second-hand emotion.”

Apologies to Tina, but Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Carolina and author of the new book Love 2.0, disagrees: Love is not a second-hand emotion, but an essential ingredient to our overall happiness and something to pay attention to on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Fredrickson and her team study what happens in our bodies when we respond to different types of emotions.

Her latest work suggests that some things we think we know about love are wrong.

Instead of being constant, unconditional and limited to our close friends and family, love is built on “micro-moments,” short, powerful connections we can have with all sorts of other people.

The more of these micro-moments we have, the better our relationships will be and the healthier we’ll be overall.

Letting our guard down and opening up to the micro-moments of connection around us each day will ultimately make us happier and more content.

It makes marriages and other romantic relationships better and improves bonds with friends, colleagues and even strangers.

Sorry, Tina: when it comes to happiness, love has everything to do with it.

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(Graphic and photo by Max Englund.)