This is What Happens to Your Brain When You’re Falling in Love
Remember when Robert Palmer said you’re “Addicted to Love”? While his words were tinged with poetic license, there was a lot of scientific truth in them. Why? Well, it turns out that feelings of love are as much about chemical reactions in the brain as they are about emotions.
Love is, scientists might say, a series of chemical reactions. All those hormones and neurotransmitters flood your system during the first throes of love — and they’re very powerful. Make no mistake: we're talking about the chemistry of love here.
We’ve put together a brief summary of what happens to your brain when you fall in love. Once you’ve read it, why not take a moment to fill in our health questionnaire? Love, health, and happiness are all linked — so embrace them as part of a holistic approach to your life.
There’s a reason why lust takes over during the first throes of romantic entanglement. It’s a primeval, animal instinct that’s linked to reproduction and the survival of the species. Put simply, you get all hot and bothered when you first meet a sexually attractive prospective partner.
But what’s happening in your brain when you’re experiencing lust and sexual excitement? What's really happening when it comes to the science of love? Your hypothalamus — a small area right in the center of your brain — is stimulating sexual hormones like nobody’s business.
If you’re a guy, it’s telling your testes to ramp up production of testosterone. If you’re a gal, it’s telling your ovaries to step up production of the love hormone estrogen.
But that’s not even the half of it. Both of these reproductive hormones are present in men and women. Women produce testosterone, too. It plays a big role in female sexual urges — commonly referred to as libido.
This is when things really get hot and heavy. All those hormones create some pretty powerful sexual urges. These urges can turn usually shy people into confident, bold individuals. Most people, whether they know it or not, experience this lustful stage of human love several times in their life.
You could say that many young people with high levels of testosterone or estrogen live in a constant state of sexual flux. If you’re looking for someone to blame, direct it at the hypothalamus.
So, you’ve cast your eyes on the person that floats your boat sexually. But lust is often predicated on superficial issues such as good looks and body characteristics. The next stage of the science of love is attraction, and this is where things get romantic.
If you feel yourself falling in love with someone, you’re probably experiencing one of the three stages of attraction. At least in terms of brain activity.
The first stage involves the production of adrenaline and cortisol. These natural substances can significantly dull your senses. You might feel your heart beating faster, and other reactions such as profuse sweating and trembling aren’t uncommon. These chemicals are creating physical symptoms, which you’ll probably already know about if you’ve been in love before.
The second stage of attraction involves the production of the love hormone dopamine. This is a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of pleasure and satisfaction within humans. It may not surprise you to learn that MRI scans have picked up huge spikes in these neurotransmitters within the brains of loved-up test subjects.
Dopamine is a natural drug that is capable of giving you incredible highs. It gives you an energy boost, but that’s not always a good thing. Side-effects of this high include loss of appetite, loss of sleep and an inability to focus on other issues. Lovesickness really is a thing!
You could call these stages “attraction reactions” within the brain. And the final one involves the production of serotonin. This is the chemical responsible for focusing your thoughts on your lover — to the exclusion of almost everything else. Interestingly, women in love have much higher serotonin levels than men.
The various chemical releases in the brain during stages one and two foster a spirit of love and affection. Over time, this spirit creates a strong bond between two people. We’ve experienced lust and attraction — the next stage is attachment. And it develops in two clear stages.
The first stage involves the production of the love hormone oxytocin. This is a very important factor in the psychology of love. Often referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” it’s responsible for deeper and more sustainable feelings of love and commitment.
Interestingly, studies have revealed that sex actually reduces the production of oxytocin in the body. Couples who abstained for sex for long periods tended to have more substantial bonds, according to the research. Put simply: less sex equals more emotional attachment.
The second stage of attraction involves increased production of the anti-diuretic vasopressin. This hormone is an integral part of the chemistry of love. Just after sex, the human body produces vasopressin in huge quantities. Linked to the control of thirst and various kidney functions, the hormone has been linked to long-lasting relationships, increased emotional support, and security. This proves that sex plays a vital role in the science of love.
The next time you find yourself falling in love, remember that there’s an uncontrollable combination of chemical reactions in your brain that’s to blame. The psychology of love has evolved over tens of thousands of years and controlling it is very difficult.
Of course, the chemistry of love can’t run its course if you’re not healthy, so maintaining a good diet and making sensible lifestyle choices is essential. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits and supplementing your diet with Zinc, Maca & Ashwagandha could help the psychology of love to change your life for the better.