8 Effects of Love on Your Brain and Body

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In a hazy state of love, people seem to grow wings and hatch butterflies in their tummies. Well, from a scientific point of view, our body and the processes taking place in it during the infatuation phase are really special. And most likely, you have no idea what amazing things your trusty old body and mind go through when you’re in love.

1. Separation Anxiety

Why do we experience boundless happiness when close to our loved ones and a terrible void when they’re not around? Here’s the thing: being in love and doing drugs allegedly activate the same areas of the brain. Scientists discovered that when the subjects looked at pictures of their partners, their dopaminergic system activated, just like people who take illegal substances. The lovers also released chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and adrenaline that cause euphoria and vasopressin, which can cause aggression and loss of control. Love is a drug, and now you know why.

2. Increased Heart Rate and Sweaty Palms

When we fall in love, blood flows to the brain’s pleasure center increases, releasing adrenaline and norepinephrine. In other words, your sweaty palms are very much normal whenever you see your crush. Just don’t go shaking their hand all of a sudden.

3. Fluttering Feeling

The feeling that many people call “butterflies in the stomach” is quite real. After all, when in love, we release not only oxytocin — the “happiness hormone,” but also cortisol — the “stress hormone.” The latter is why we experience anxiety and start asking unnecessary and outrageous questions. Cortisol also constricts the blood vessels around the intestines, resulting in that fluttering feeling.

4. Kissing Relieves Stress

Here’s the good part: the effects of cortisol can be neutralized with a simple and very fun activity — kissing. Locking lips with your loved one produces glucocorticoids, hormones that decrease anxiety and stress. And meanwhile, endorphins are released that give us a feeling of joy and can also relieve pain.

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior

When people fall in love, their serotonin levels in the brain decrease, much like in those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Since both conditions cause feelings of confusion and intrusive thoughts, falling in love can be technically called a mild form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. But don’t worry, it is just a temporary side effect of falling in love. After about a year in a relationship, the serotonin levels return to normal.

6. Forget About Logic

Scientists have noticed that people in love have a tendency to make rushed, illogical moves. This kind of behavior happens when the activity of the amygdala and the frontal and prefrontal lobes is reduced. These neurological areas are responsible for critical thinking, building logical connections, and predicting results.

7. Dilated Pupils

Many people know that our pupils dilate when we look at our loved ones. But why is this happening? The thing is that the excitement that we feel when making eye contact with the crush leads to stimulation of, get ready for big words, the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, as a result of which the size of our pupils changes.

8. Remedy for a Migraine

Since increased levels of oxytocin in the body reduce stress, interacting with a lover can potentially help alleviate your migraine. This almost magical property was confirmed by a Stanford University School of Medicine study in 2010. Its participants suffered from chronic headaches, which conventional medicine could not cure. Then, the scientists offered the subjects to use a nasal spray, which contained a large dose of oxytocin. And the experiment’s results exceeded all expectations: 50% of the participants reported that their headaches became much more manageable after 4 hours. And 27% said that the migraine was completely gone. Isn’t love wonderful?

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