Have you ever wondered what causes those butterflies in your stomach when you're darling walks into the room? Or how everything just seems to come together when things are going well in your relationship? There might be a scientific explanation for all of this. As a matter of fact, your body does some fascinating things when you're in love. Here are five:
Love is addicting
Dopamine (the pleasure hormone) is affiliated with all sorts of addictions such as gambling, drugs and even Diet Coke. When you are around your sweetheart, a certain area of your brain that controls the release of hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and adrenaline becomes active. Essentially, your love ignites pleasurable and elated responses in your brain.
In a recent study, 15 heterosexual college-aged men and women who had recently gone through a breakup had their brains monitored while they were shown pictures of their ex-lovers. During the study, the areas of the brain that are normally affiliated with cocaine addiction, pain, distress and attachment lit up on the monitor. Scientists concluded that breaking up with a love can mirror drug-withdrawal symptoms. How mind-blowing is that?
Follow your nose
Have you ever noticed that the person you love (or who you find attractive) seems to smell better than anyone else? It's not just another lovesick symptom-it's scientific. Through a study, scientists discovered that humans have a way of "sniffing out" their potential partners by means of what they call major histocompatibility genes (MHC).
Apparently, your body will naturally seek out and be more attracted to the scent of a partner who has a completely different MHC than you do. Chemicals in your body do this in order to ensure your potential offspring with this person will be able to fight as many diseases as possible because of their genetic makeup. Interesting, huh?
Cuddling is the new Tylenol
Kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands and any other form of physical touch with your lover releases a hormone known as oxytocin - also known as the "cuddle hormone."Studies show that this hormone has been proven to reduce pain in subjects for an extended period. Cuddling is also proven to relieve stress and anxiety as well. So, when you aren't feeling well, cuddling with your love truly is the best medicine.
Two hearts beat as one
When you're in love with someone, your hearts truly become one. This study shows that heart rates and breathing patterns synchronize in couples who are sitting in close proximity. They don't even have to be touching or holding hands for this to happen. So in truth, your mind, heart and pretty much your entire body automatically links to the most important person in your life. If that isn't the epitome of romance, I don't know what is.
Have you ever looked back at one of your ex-lovers and thought to yourself, "what on earth was I thinking"? Well, in truth, you tend to lose your mind and all sense of logic when you are falling for someone. Studies have shown that apart from the raging hormones that already throw your body out of whack, your mind goes through some changes when you are in love. You mind tends to focus less, you lose sleep every night thinking about your love, your behavior becomes more daring and finally, love just makes you do some crazy things that you'll probably regret in the future. That is until about 18 months into your relationship - that's when all of those hormones and feelings start to settle down and you start thinking clearly again.
Turns out love has some serious side effects, so take advantage of them! Snuggle up when you have a headache, take a deep breath when you sniff your husband's tee shirts and don't beat yourself up too much when you regret past relationships.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.