The Science of Love

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Oh love….at one point in our lives we’ve all felt an attraction to that special someone. The great thing about it is that love is felt all over the world, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or how much wealth you have. Now to be clear, we are talking about romantic love with a significant other, known as passionate love. The organ of love is your brain, NOT the heart, no matter what Hollywood or cheesy romance stories try to portray. Why is this? Well your brain is in charge of releasing dopamine and nor epinephrine which is released when you focus on that special someone. So that explains that, warm feeling you get when you think about your crush. Love also exerts a behavior known as limerence, where new couple are obsessed with each other. This is the stage of a relationship where the new couple are CRAZY about each other and seem to want to be around each other all the time, even if it means there would be consequences in order to spend time with them. Pretty crazy right?

Well you know what else is crazy? Oxytocin and vasopressin are two hormones released in the brain when you look at someone you have a relationship with. These chemicals help reduce anxiety levels, help with sleeping, reduce cholesterol levels, and increase positive social interaction. But the crazy part is that you can boost the production of the chemicals in your brain by being in love. More specifically you can gain all those positive effects and increase the levels simply by looking straight into their eyes!
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Have you ever felt like you’ve loved someone to death? Many of us probably have had the urge to give someone a huge bear hug and seemingly squeeze the life out of them, or pick up a cute puppy and squeeze it so much that it may even seem….aggressive. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Well Yale University came up with a name for this strange behavior called Cute Aggression. Don’t worry, this is completely an overly emotional reaction rather than a violent one. Our bodies use a negative emotion to regulate itself back down, just like the term “tears of joy”. We aren’t sad or angry, but our bodies can’t take it and so we exhibit a way to vent out the feelings. So the next time someone says “Your so adorable, I could just eat you up” run , because they may be serious….

Such feelings are always enjoyable and heart warming to all, but what happens when you experience loss in love? In the ancient book written by Sophocles, it states, “Children, this day your father is gone from you. All that was mine is gone. You shall no longer bear the burden of taking care of me— I know it was hard, my children.—And yet one word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love. Never shall you have more from any man than you have had from me. And now you must spend the rest of life without me.” The quote can show us that love is a blessing to our lives, especially when they are  falling apart.  All the weight on our shoulders and all the pain can be lessened with a little love.  With that said, “I” was your love, I was your the savior to your sadness, and now…I am gone, your happiness is no more without love.

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Most people always correlate love with happiness, it is always a given that love will bring happiness, and is always a given that sadness comes along with the loss of love. But…why is that? Why does the loss of love HAVE to mean sadness, well this may be due to Bateman’s Principle. Bateman’s Principle states that whenever a species has a difference in cells like; sperm and egg, one side of that species is always more competitive and aggressive, while the other one is more picky. In us humans, the male species are more aggressive than the female species and has a greater desire to reproduce than the females. Thus, meaning the males have a greater physiologic need for “love”, to lose such an opportunity must be  disappointing for all to a certain extent.

But perhaps the answer lies in our brains…Dopamine is a the same chemical released when cocaine is induced into your body and is the same chemical when looking into your lover’s eyes. When a person “falls in love” with another individual, he or she can get “addicted” to those same feelings released from your brain such as dopamine. The brain may get more and more accustomed to these chemicals until it is to the point where it is almost impossible for you to imagine a world without that special someone. Meaning, the more you love that person, the more it will take to get over the individual. This could explain why it “hurts” so much to let go of the ones you love. So the next time you “fall in love”, you best keep in mind that love is a double sided blade.

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