Love is a very complicated matter that is usually overlooked in our society today. While some take love for granted and abuse its meaning, the real question everyone comes by when they’re attracted to someone is, “How do I know if I’m in love?” Little did we know, being in love actually affects our brain, our body, as well as the way we act.
First of all, being in love impacts our brain significantly. For example, the caudate nucleus becomes active, which causes huge amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine to be released from the brain throughout the body (Your Brain in Love, 2015). Since dopamine is the reward/happiness hormone, whenever it’s released from the brain, the body tends to crave more of that chemical for you to feel good (What Happens to Your Body, 2017). This explains why many people seem attached, obsessed, or addicted to the person they desire; from thinking about them day and night, to taking extreme risks or sacrifices for them (Borreli, 2014). In addition to addiction, the effects and structures that are active when a person is in love are parallel to the ones in a person who is addicted to cocaine (Borreli, 2014). Due to this, we can examine how the pain and withdrawal from a breakup is similar to the experience of trying to quit drugs, which connects to the adage that love is a drug (Borreli, 2014).
Secondly, an individual in love was found to have less activity in the amygdala, along with the frontal and prefrontal cortices (What Happens to Your Body, 2017). The amygdala is responsible for fear as well as learning from your mistakes. While the cortices are related to “analysis, judgment, delayed gratification, and predicting the outcome of events” (What Happens to Your Body, 2017). Decreased activity in the amygdala explains why some aren’t afraid to take risks, and why many are fully vulnerable when it comes to love. Considering that the cortices are connected to analysis and judgment, we can learn to understand how we view our special someone as perfect, and why we don’t usually see their flaws or bad sides at first, while others can. This ideology also clears up how “love is blind,” since being “in love” clouds our better judgment of others.
Overall, love isn’t only complicated in the real world from experience, but also scientifically. Yet despite all the facts about the effects of love, scientists still don’t know why or what causes people to fall in love (Herbeit, 2016). From personal experience, love is finding something you hate about an individual or certain someone, and still loving or accepting them for it. Another definition of love to me is to never give up on them, especially if everyone else around them has left or lost hope in them. This is because love is about supporting someone and staying by their side every step of the way. Finally, the last meaning of love to me is to have their happiness be more important than your own. In other words, you put their needs as a bigger priority than your own health. Love isn’t only a feeling; it’s a commitment, and as learned from the past, love takes up time, treasures, and effort. To love someone or be in love, you have to be able to give these values up for the person you want to pursue or be with.
Herbert, J. (2016, May 19). How Does Your Brain Tell You That You Are in Love? Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hormones-and-the-brain/201605/how-does-your-brain-tell-you-you-are-in-love
Your Brain in Love. (2015, August 24). Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love
Tart-Zelvin, X. X. (2017, July 19). What Goes On in Our Brains When We Are in Love? Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-goes-on-in-our-brains-when-we-are-in-love/
Borreli, L. (2014, February 11). Oxytocin, Love Hormone, Fuels Romance: How Your Brain Works When You're In Love. Retrieved January 27, 2018, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/oxytocin-love-hormone-fuels-romance-how-your-brain-works-when-youre-love-269067
What Happens To Your Body And Brain When You Fall In Love. (2017, January 31). Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://truththeory.com/2016/04/28/what-happens-to-your-body-and-brain-when-you-fall-in-love/