Peter Sucheski ©

What happens in my body when I fall in love?

Roses are red, violets are blue, love is a trick your body plays on you. A good trick though, with lots of hormones to make us feel great.

Love is mostly a biological trick that evolution plays on you to encourage you to reproduce effectively. Those memories of your fantastic first date that are burned forever into your brain? You can blame that on the extra proteins in your bloodstream that encourage new neuron connections in your brain when you’re in love. But that’s not all…

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1

You feel happier

Peter Sucheski © You feel happier
Peter Sucheski ©

Your brain releases more of the hormones dopamine and oxytocin. These feel-good chemicals give a euphoria similar to the effects of cocaine.

2

You’re possessive

Peter Sucheski ©
Peter Sucheski ©

Another hormone produced by the loved-up brain is vasopressin. Studies in animals show that this chemical increases the sense of attachment and territoriality.

3

One-track mind

Peter Sucheski ©
Peter Sucheski ©

Elevated levels of adrenaline and norepinephrine hormones, coupled with lower serotonin, make you anxious and can cause a sensation of obsessive focus on your love interest.

4

Jangling nerves.

Peter Sucheski ©
Peter Sucheski ©

Adrenaline and norepinephrine also cause more physical symptoms of stress around your crush, including sweaty palms, a fluttering heart and a dry mouth.

5

Wide eyes

Peter Sucheski ©
Peter Sucheski ©

The autonomic nervous system – which regulates the body’s unconscious actions – is deeply connected to the arousal centres of your brain. When you see someone attractive, your pupils automatically dilate.

6

You feel less pain

Peter Sucheski ©
Peter Sucheski ©

A 2010 study at Stanford University found that staring at a photo of someone you’re deeply in love with reduces moderate pain by 40 per cent.

Attraction explained: how to seduce and why we love

On 12 September, psychologist Viren Swami will discuss how geography, appearance and personality affect who we fall for and why. Then you can test out your new knowledge on someone you get paired with on the night… © British Science Association

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