Ah, love. The butterflies in your stomach, racing heartbeat, mood changes, increased libido, and inexplicable connection – these all happen when you fall for someone and there are proven scientific basis as to why your body reacts this way.
A study by Professor Stephanie Ortigue at Syracuse University equates the feeling you get when you fall in love to that of a cocaine high. Not only does love affect your mood, it also has an impact on 12 areas of your brain which in turn have an effect on the body.
Meeting a special someone can literally change how you function in as little as a fifth of a second. Here are 5 ways your body changes as you fall head-over-heels:
1. You get butterflies in your stomach
Everyone who has had an attraction towards someone knows what the “butterflies in your stomach” feeling is like. According to biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., the sensation is caused by the release of the following stress hormones: adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Since the body can’t differentiate between types of stress, some people might also get flustered with an increase in heart rate.
2. You become addicted & obsessed
The euphoric feeling you get when you start to fall for someone is due to the increased levels of Dopamine and Serotonin chemicals. Serotonin is why you can’t stop thinking about your new found love while Dopamine is responsible for increased energy levels, heightened pleasure, less need for food & sleep and focused attention towards your partner. So being slightly obsessed with your new love and a little distracted about other stuff is actually normal.
3. You become attached & feel less pain
According to Helen Fisher, developing a strong attachment to your partner is the 3rd stage of love. At this point, intimacy becomes deeper because of the presence of the hormone Oxytocin. Fisher says that Oxytocin “is what hugging, kissing, and touching are made of.” It is also the same hormone that bonds a mother with her child and increases your tolerance for physical pain.
4. You develop heightened senses
Being in love can even make food and drinks, including water, taste sweeter, according to researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands. Their study revealed that love is linked to the “physical experience of sweetness.” I guess this explains why Valentine’s Day chocolate tastes a tad bit better than it would on a regular day. Being attracted to someone also stimulates your nervous system which causes your eyes to dilate. Cool, right?
5. You get stronger
Love can actually make you stronger over time, if you’re a man. Good news for all the men in long-term relationships, a UCLA study, published in Osteoporosis International, showed evidence that men who are married or in stable relationships after the age of 25 have stronger bones.
So being in love is pretty much like getting a superpower while being constantly wasted.