When in love, we often want to put a label on our feelings, and we want to explain with the best metaphors what our bodies and minds are experiencing. However, we don’t often pay attention to the scientific reasons. Good insights can be drawn from biology and from familiarizing ourselves with the chemicals dwelling in our bodies. Don’t worry, dear. Knowing about them doesn’t take the magic away. It only gives you a better understanding of what you feel at a given moment. In love, you can’t always decide with your rational mind. You need to listen to your guts and to your good old limbic system. So here are 5 chemicals involved in love:
Dopamine: Dopamine creates intense rushes of pleasure. It’s the same chemical involved in drug use, gambling, and exercise. Dopamine makes you want even more dopamine: when you get some, your brain requests more of it. You crave more euphoria. The mere sight of the object of interest increases your dopamine levels and makes you crave it even more. It activates the pleasure system of the brain, reinforcing the motivation to repeat the behavior. It’s all about seeing his or her face again. Seeing his or her name on your phone.
Phenylethylamine: This chemical might sound complicated and strange to you, but in truth, it is your best friend. Why? Because it can be found in chocolate! It is known for its mood-boosting properties and will make you feel like Jack in Titanic… or like you are in an R. Kelly song. Romeo asks you for a late-night drink? Take a piece of chocolate and go. Run.
Serotonin: Normal serotonin production can help maintain a balanced mood, promote relaxation, and help improve memory. And when you are in love, sometimes you can quickly switch from feeling calm to feeling very anxious. Is he thinking about me? Did I do anything wrong? Your levels of serotonin are disrupted easily, and so you're more vulnerable to anxiety.
Oxytocin: This neurochemical produced by your hypothalamus will facilitate your bonding experience; it’s the “love hormone.” It’s the same chemical released when a mother breastfeeds her child, which leads to a deeper attachment. You’re securely attached and you’re well being is improved, just like if you had swallowed a magical pill. This release of oxytocin occurs often after sex.
Endorphins: Associated with feeling of comfort and attachment, endorphins are natural painkillers that will calm your anxiety. You’re zen. Your stress has disappeared. When Romeo walks into the room, you feel safer and appeased. You feel complete and happy.
Vasopressin: Involved in long-term commitment, vasopressin is your monogamous chemical: you’re with him/her forever. And ever. And ever.