Love is profound, meaningful, complex and simple. It is one of the most beautiful emotions that can be experienced by two persons.
Being in love is undoubtedly an exhilarating feeling. When the love-bug bites, it leaves you weak in the knees, with butterflies in your stomach and heart pumping just a little bit faster. So, as we breathe in this celebration of love, let’s explore how love and being in love can have positive effects on both our body and brain.
THE CHEMICAL ROMANCE
Love is often described as “addictive” and its effects compared to that of a “drug”. Well, surprisingly, this isn’t very far from reality! According to neuroscientists from Stanford University, along with several other popular researches, intense feelings of romantic love affect the brain in the same way drugs or powerful pain relievers do.
Being in love floods the brain with chemicals and hormones that produces feelings of pleasure, obsession and attachment. Here’s a look at 3 ways love affects your brain.
1. Generates happiness: There’s a good scientific reason why you feel that rush of excitement and infinite levels of happiness when you’re in love. It’s because of a release of hormones called Dopamine, which is the chemical that gives the brain energy, motivation, and a feel-good rush.
Falling or being in love creates a surge of dopamine that gives you a pleasurable, over-the-moon, on-top-of-the-world feeling. Such excitement of love and euphoria are known to keep you happy and elated that makes you enjoy the moments shared with your partner.
2. Reduces stress: Kiss your stresses away with your loved one. As its name suggests, the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone”, Oxytocin, is released when there are physical acts of affection like a cuddle, caress or a kiss.
In a study conducted at the University of Zurich, Oxytocin was shown to lower the ‘stress’ hormone cortisol and regulate interpersonal relationships in a positive way. Apart from building trust and intimacy, the hormone is also known to lower blood pressure and acts as an effective sedative.
3. Improves alertness: Remember the restaurant where you had your first date? How about what your partner was wearing on that special day? One reason why you are able to recall such level of detail is because when you’re in love, the hormonal rush in your brain increases your level of alertness. You become more receptive to learn things from those around you, expanding your knowledge of the world. Interestingly, this increased awareness can be harnessed further with creativity and possibly nurture better communication – thus improving the quality of your relationship.
HOW LOVE AFFECTS US PHYSICALLY
A quickened heart-rate, sweaty palms, knots in the stomach, dilated pupils and a stuttering tongue – are just some of the well-meaning effects of love have on our physical selves. Apart from the release of various happy hormones in your brain, being in love also has benefits for your body.
1. Boosts your immunity: Not only does love help you heal, it might prevent illnesses too. Research from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that individuals who experienced positive emotions of love such as happiness, pleasure and relaxation, were less susceptible to the common cold virus. Other researches show positive emotions with physical contact, even casual ones like simply holding your partner’s hand or a kiss, can lead to a microbial exchange that actually helps strengthen your immune system.
2. Experience less pain: When in love, the dopamine and oxytocin hormones in the brain could actually help increase your threshold for pain. A study by Stanford University discovered that those in love experienced a reduction of pain by 40 percent and eased severe pain by 10 to 15 percent. The hormones prompt the natural release of endorphins, which is similar to the effects of opioids or painkillers, that helps you experience less pain.
3. Live healthier: Making a big change in your life is never easy, whether it’s a change your eating habits or hitting the gym. But when you’re in a relationship, things are different as you want to be the best for your partner. Love makes it easier to make positive changes in your life and is a great motivator to stop one’s bad habits. Research shows that couples in love can greatly affect each other’s confidence and healthy choices, such as quitting smoking or drinking alcohol and even adopting an active healthy lifestyle.
To love and be loved, are not just positive emotions but can also be major factors to our overall happiness and wellness. Not only can love change your life for the better, but every ounce of love you share also has the power to improve someone’s long-term health. So, celebrate love this month, and enjoy all the benefits love brings into yours’ and your partner’s life!
Source : AIA