Love is one of the strongest emotions in existence. When a person falls in love, their whole perception of the world can change. Think back to the last time you fell in love. You likely felt it on a physical, mental and emotional level. The way it feels to be in love can truly alter everything about you. And that is not just a feeling — its a fact. While it may seem like love is just a whimsical experience that exists merely in the emotional heart. But research has shown that love alters us in our physical body — namely in our brains. Love has the ability to actually change your brain chemistry, and in some surprising ways you may have never fathomed possible. To learn more about how love influences us on the deepest of levels, check out these 8 ways that love affects your brain, according to science.
Feelings of Euphoria
You know that feeling of absolute bliss when you first fall hard for someone? Science proves that this feeling is not merely your heart melting in adoration of your special someone. Your brain is actually deriving pleasure through its reward system when you are in love. Love triggers the release of dopamine, which is experienced as pleasure.
Love also breeds feelings of security and attachment, when the love is healthy and good for you. This is because the brain releases oxytocin when in love, which can boost the feelings of trust and safety. This is triggered through actions like touching or kissing, which is why oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.”
As you become more in love with your person, you likely become willing to make sacrifices and compromise for the betterment of them and the relationship. This is thought to be a result of the vagus nerve and how it is affected by love. You and your partner become synced through the vagus nerve, according to science — this sync makes you feel more in rhythm and connected to your partner, which can lead to a feeling of willingness to sacrifice and oneness.
Recurring Thought Patterns
We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of constantly thinking about our person. This is partly due to the dopamine reward we get from thinking of them, but also due to the anterior cingulate cortex. This part of the brain is linked to obsessive compulsive behavior, which may explain why it could be activated when you are obsessively thinking about your partner.
Jealousy is typically inevitable in relationships. It is a natural feeling that occurs when you love someone, and is actually scientifically normal. When it is not excessive and possessive, jealousy can actually promote deeper bond and connection within the relationship.
When the brain releases those love drugs and chemicals in the body, it makes us feel so good. Oxytocin and dopamine do wonderful things for mood and mental disposition. They make us feel less stressed, improve our outlook on life and generally calm the body.
It turns out that there is a reason the majority of people completely lose sight of reason when in love. When you are actively in love, your brain hits snooze on its components that help you sense danger and make good decisions, like the frontal lobe and the amygdala.
Addiction to Love
With all of the positive feelings associated with being in love, it can be easy to want more and more of it. If you are constantly getting hits of dopamine and oxytocin when interacting with or thinking about your person, it’s not too hard to see why some people become addicted to love.