Most people remember the first time they fell in love, for good reason. It’s because falling in love has a tendency to make you feel happy and it can even distract you from everything else that’s going on. Falling in love can be all-encompassing, even producing a euphoric feeling. The impact it has on your brain is incredible. Let’s look at what happens to your brain when you fall in love.
Love Impacts Your Hormones
When you first meet someone and start to fall in love, you’ll experience a rush of hormones that goes directly to your brain. In fact, one of those hormones is oxytocin, which is considered the love hormone. There are also other hormones that contribute to the amazing feelings that you have when falling in love. This includes adrenaline, testosterone and estrogen. As you can probably imagine, these hormones contribute to feelings of excitement and the euphoria that you often experience during the process of falling in love. They also contribute to the attraction you feel towards the object of your affection.
Your Emotions Are Heightened
Love is a powerful emotion and it’s one that’s heightened during the beginning phases of a relationship. Other emotions are felt more deeply as well, such is empathy and joy. Subsequently, you’re more likely to spend the time necessary to strengthen the relationship. The part of your brain that’s responsible for these emotions has more activity when you’re in love. In addition to cultivating specific emotions, you can improve the health of your brain by focusing on emotions that are more positive. As it turns out, cultivating love in any form is beneficial to the health of your brain. This includes love directed towards yourself. It’s one of the reasons why the practice of self-love is important.
You Can Get Addicted to Love
Have you ever wondered why you want to spend all of your time with someone in the beginning of the relationship? There’s a good answer to that question. It’s because love can become addicting. This happens when you start to obsess about the other person, much like what happens when a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs. The same area of your brain is affected when you fall in love. In fact, the craving that you can feel for spending time with someone is much like the craving a person can feel during any other addiction.
Serotonin Levels Decrease
When you’re falling in love or when you’re actually in love with someone, it’s common for serotonin levels to decrease. This aligns with the fact that romantic love is associated with having lower levels of serotonin than you would have otherwise. This contributes to one’s desire to spend the bulk of their time with the person they love most.
Your Opioid System is Affected
When you truly enjoy something in life, there’s a good chance that the opioid system in your brain is affected. Love has a tendency to activate this part of your brain. In other words, you can feel a natural high when in the presence of the person you love.
Focus is Diminished
There’s a reason why you have a hard time focusing on other things when you’re in love. It’s because love can cause a reduction in cognition. In other words, you have a much more difficult time focusing on other things because your attention is on the one you love. They essentially become a distraction. Fortunately, this is something that changes over time.
How Your Brain is Impacted and Evolves
As you probably know, the intensity of love that you feel when initially meeting someone doesn’t usually last throughout the duration of the relationship. This doesn’t mean you don’t still love the person, it just means the way you love them is different. That’s because there are different phases of love and your brain doesn’t always respond the same as the relationship progresses. Your brain will often produce fewer hormones as time goes by. Although romantic love can exist for a long period of time, the way in which it affects your brain will change.
Just about everyone wants to experience love, even those who won’t admit it. Sometimes people are afraid of falling in love or they wonder if the feeling of love can endure. The good news is that love can last and scans of the brain prove this to be the case. Despite skepticism that’s often born out of bad relationships in the past and high divorce rates, the fact is that love can last for a very long time. Love is worth pursuing, especially given the positive ways in which it impacts your brain.