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…
You feel happier
Your brain releases more of the hormones dopamine and oxytocin. These feel-good chemicals give a euphoria similar to the effects of cocaine.
Another hormone produced by the loved-up brain is vasopressin. Studies in animals show that this chemical increases the sense of attachment and territoriality.
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.
Adrenaline and norepinephrine also cause more physical symptoms of stress around your crush, including sweaty palms, a fluttering heart and a dry mouth.
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.
You feel less pain
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.
- Is there any science behind love at first sight?
- Are there chemical formulae for emotions like love, hate, anger, joy and jealousy?