Love is a complicated emotion; not just in practice, but also in theory. When you are in “love”, your body and mind are subjected to different chemicals and stimuli, all of which mix and match to give you a different individual experience. While the outcome is surely unique for every single person, there is little difference in what actually happens inside the body. This Valentine’s day, learn what (scientifically) happens to your body when it’s riding the wave of love:
1. You grow the ability to kill pain naturally
Doesn’t this sound like a great superpower to have? Well, being in love comes close to achieving it! When you embrace someone, there is a release of oxytocin for 10-20 seconds, which effectively combats pain, especially headaches. It also activates the opioid system of your brain because the region of the brain that is stimulated by painkillers is the same region to be stimulated when you ‘like” someone. Images and thoughts of your dear ones act as a great analgesic by distracting you from your problems.
2. You can kiss the therapy sessions goodbye
Love is therapy. Being in a mutually rewarding and balanced, healthy and kind relationship stimulates the brain’s empathy and emotion processing centers. The result? An individual is more empathic and better at processing his/her emotions. We’re less selfish when we’re in love. The support of your companion is instrumental in helping you deal with your fears, anxieties, depressive episodes and even physical health.
3. Love hormones to the rescue!
Love releases a number of hormones in the body. These include oxytocin, dopamine, sex hormones, adrenaline and many more. This influx of hormones plays a major role in those intense feelings of fluttery excitement, attraction, and euphoria. But not all results of this rush are positive. For example, dopamine “highs” are addicting, which motivates you to pursue more rewards (read: affairs). These highs are similar to ones found in a schizophrenic. On the other hand, the hormone serotonin takes a plunge, which also happens in people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). So proceed with caution.
4. You will live longer when in love
Love gets into your brain and stays there for a long time. Older and happily married couples have more similarities in certain areas of their brains than newer couples, which promotes longevity. Meaningful relationships based on mutual romantic feelings and trust provide you with the benefits of a healthy and sound lifestyle. They help you make better decisions regarding your health and prevention of physical conditions. People in committed relationships live longer, thus proving that love lasts indeed.
Love doesn’t have to be romantic in order to be beneficial to you. It can be platonic i.e. the love you share between your friends or altruistic i.e. the love your parents have for you, are similar types that can contribute equally to bettering your life. Self-love is also important because it strengthens your confidence and helps you create a safe place for yourself in this big, big world. Love for your hobbies and art will help you find your purpose in life. Love for nature will remind you that you are a part of the universe, just as the universe is a part of you!
Don’t limit your love this Valentine’s day. Give it to your partner, your parents, your friends or maybe your pets. You can also give it to a stranger if you’re feeling extra brave and generous! Indulge and invest in it so you can reap its benefits of a long and healthier life. Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
1. This Is What Love Does To Your Body. Available at: https://brightside.me/inspiration-relationships/this-is-what-love-does-to-your-body-161955/. Accessed on 5 February 2020.
2. 8 Crazy Things Love Does To Your Brain, According To Science. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/love-brain-neuroscience_n_56bc8e50e4b08ffac123fd13?ri18n=true. Accessed on 5 February 2020.
3. 19 Scientifically Proven Ways “Love” Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug. Available at: https://thoughtcatalog.com/lorenzo-jensen-iii/2015/03/19-scientifically-proven-ways-love-affects-our-bodies-like-a-drug/. Accessed on 5 February 2020.4. What Happens in Your Body When You’re in Love. Available at: https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/emotional-health/science-of-love-infographic. Accessed on 5 February 2020.