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The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love

By Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller
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Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller

Attached (2010) is all about how to make your relationships work. This book offers you valuable insight into the science of adult attachment and how to use this insight in everyday life, whether you’re in a committed relationship or are still looking for love. It also provides tips and tricks on how to find the perfect partner and reveals why some people just aren’t compatible.

Key idea 1 of 9

Everybody needs attachment to live a healthy and happy life.

We’re all familiar with that creeping feeling when we know our partner won’t be around for a while: distress. What is it that causes this feeling?

The distress of being away from our partner is caused by our feelings of attachment for one another.

But what exactly is attachment?

Attachment is a strong bond that two people share with each other, a bond which lasts over time and also forms a special need to keep in contact with one another. It could take the form of a mother-child relationship, or the form of a romantic relationship between two adults.

Interestingly, forming these bonds comes with many benefits. Having a close personal relationship with someone gives us a secure emotional foundation, which then helps us remain calm even in strenuous situations.

Being able to hold your partner’s hand during times of stress, for example, gives you support, knowing that this special someone will help you through the trouble. This connection makes even the most distressing situations feel much less frightening.

This was verified in a study that aimed to find out more about the healing effects of attachment by placing female participants in a stressful situation, but giving some participants the opportunity to hold their partner’s hand.

Researchers found that when a participant was able to hold her partner’s hand, her hypothalamus, that is the part of the brain that makes us feel emotional pressure, was less active than when she had to endure the stress alone.

Conversely, those who lack the bonds created by attachment are at greater risk of unhappiness and serious health risks.

In fact, when we find ourselves in an unhappy relationship, we don’t only suffer emotionally but also physically.

For example, if you aren’t satisfied with your marriage, your partner’s presence will actually raise your blood pressure due to the discomfort you feel when you’re around them. As long as you are in their proximity, your blood pressure will remain high, which can eventually lead to serious medical problems, such as heart disease.

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