8 Ways Your Body Changes When You Fall In Love

8 Ways Your Body Changes When You Fall In Love

fall in loveLifestyle

During our first childhood “crush,” we all experienced butterflies in the stomach, nervousness, and a racing heartbeat. We were infatuated and couldn’t take our eyes off of the object of our budding love.

Does anyone else remember anxiously awaiting the recess bell so we could see them on the playground? Or hoping that the teacher assigned you a desk right next to theirs? Indeed, chemical reactions were taking place in our young brain and body, giving us our first (albeit immature) taste of love.

Truly, a fascinating chain of chemical reactions occurs when we’re head over heels. From the relationship’s beginning to first climbing under the sheets, and finally saying those “three words,” here’s what goes on as your body falls in love.

What happens to your body when you fall in love

“Nothing is sweeter than love; all other bliss comes second. And compared to it, even honest it too hotter to hold in my mouth.” – Nossis


#1 You feel “addicted” when you fall in love

Falling in love, and its effects on the body, are strikingly similar to being addicted to drugs. Chemicals that cause a euphoric high – adrenaline, dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin, are all released at some point during intimacy. Dopamine is the brain’s pleasure chemical and is what causes feelings of elation and energy around our loved one.

Helen E. Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, states “Romantic love is an addiction. It’s a very powerfully wonderful addiction when things are going well.” Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the brain in love strongly resemble those experiencing a high.

Lovers are also like drugs, in the sense that the more time you spend with them, the more hooked you become.

#2 Love lowers your inhibitions (“feeling drunk”)

Just as having one too many cocktails lowers anxiety, fear, and inhibition – and makes you more boastful and confident – the “love drug” oxytocin produces the same effect. Researchers at the University of Birmingham observed the effects of alcohol and oxytocin on the brain, and though they impact different parts of the brain, the effects are very similar.

#3 Your pupils dilate when you experience love

When you feel strongly attracted to someone, no matter the time or place, a reaction occurs within the brain’s sympathetic branch, the SNS. This stimulation causes the pupils of the eyes to dilate (become wider).

Try this out on your date, boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse – it’s fun stuff!

#4 You may experience a flushed face, sweaty palms, or a racing heart

Becoming anxious (sometimes, very anxious) before an important event (e.g. a big date, wedding day) is more than a nervous “twitch.” An influx of the brain chemicals adrenaline and norepinephrine can produce physical sensations, such as craving and desire. Also, your brain will focus intently on the person of affection.

#5 Your stomach may act up

When you really begin to like (perhaps love) someone else, the brain may release the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can cause the stomach’s blood vessels to constrict, perhaps leading to feelings of nausea and lack of appetite. This physiological response may explain why many couples don’t eat much on their wedding day.

#6 Love can help you experience “withdrawal symptoms”

Corticoliberin is a peptide hormone released during a stress response. Also known as the “corticotrophin-releasing factor,” separation from our loved one can exacerbate any stress response. The “withdrawal symptoms” of anxiety and depression are similar to those of an addict weaning off a drug.

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