Love is a concept that everyone understands, but it’s fairly difficult to define. It’s hard to know what causes your body and brain to behave exactly the way it does.
But did you know that science has a few things to say about love? There are scientific explanations of what it means to love someone or be in love.
For example, when you fall in love, the levels of dopamine in your brain rise. Dopamine is a neurochemical that plays a central role in your ability to focus and concentrate. You know how you feel like that special someone is the most important person in the world? It’s very likely due to the effects of dopamine on your brain. Every time you see them, your brain produces more dopamine, causing you to focus all of your attention on them. Dopamine also makes you feel good, so you equate those feelings of happiness and love with that person.
Another interesting result of falling in love: you become a wreck! You can’t sleep because you’re so in love, you’re excited and exhilarated at the thought of the other person, you have more energy, you don’t feel hungry when you’re around them, your heart and your breath speed up, and you feel blue when you’re apart from them.
Did you know that these things are similar to the effects caused by drugs? Drug addicts experience many of the same side effects. Love stimulates the part of your brain that activates when taking drugs, which is why being in love is such an addictive feeling. You want that “hit” of that special person, or else you’ll feel you’ll die without it.
In Part 2, we’ll look at a few more scientific explanations of what it really means to be in love…