Sometimes, falling in love can feel like an out-of-body experience — your mental and physical being are taken over with the emotion, and that’s partially due to the natural biological effects that love can cause in our brains and bodies. Can’t recognize when you’re falling in love, but want to know the telltale signs? Here’s what happen to your body when romance does a number on you.
1. Dopamine spikes
Your brain generated something called dopamine, which causes euphoria. The same thing happens with eating chocolate or listening to your favorite music, just on a smaller scale. Think about it this way: the reward for love is a feeling of happiness, which according to scientists plays a big role in our mating to avoid extinction!
2. The love hormone surges
Yes, there’s something known as the love hormone, and it’s called oxytocin. Oxytocin increases feelings of attachment, trust, and safety. It’s why you feel so comfortable around a partner. Oxytocin boosts after sex, touching, and kissing, and it works to make your bond stronger while potentially decreasing an interest in other potential partners.
3. Your blood pressure thanks you
Our blood pressure lowers. Most people suffer from high blood pressure, but for those who have found their soulmate, blood pressure is significantly reduced. This can happen from quick talks before or after work and dinner dates.
4. Your pain tolerance increases
According to science, when we see our loved one, our brain triggers a mechanism that reduces pain. Just looking at a picture of our significant other can have an effect. Sure, it might not be as strong as anesthesia, but it also just feels nice knowing that when bae thinks of you, they automatically feel better.
5. Overall improvement of physical health
Even though some of us put on a little weight (and there’s no shame in that) after entering a relationship, finding the love of your life can bring a healthier heart, stronger immune system, weight loss, and even increase overall life longevity, bringing a whole new meaning to “til deal do us part”.
6. Bubble guts or “butterflies”
Stomach issues can happen when you fall in love, some people call it “butterflies” in your stomach. Although love is amazing, it can occasionally cause cortisol levels to increase. This is the same hormone associated with stress that causes nausea and an upset stomach. Your cheeks flush, your heart races, and palms sweat. This is what some brides experience on their wedding days.
7. Appetite and sleep issues
When someone special is on your mind, often, it’s hard to think of anything else or go through the regular motions of life. If you can’t get your lover out of your head (or crush, since you don’t know how they feel) it’s common to have a nervous stomach, poor appetite, and insomnia.
8. Pupils dilate
Did you know that when you’re attracted to someone (whether you’re gazing deep into each other’s eyes, laying in bed together, making eye contact in the street) your pupils dilate. This is because your nervous system’s sympathetic branch gets stimulated, cause your eyes to dilate. Go ahead and try it out with your significant other, sometime!
9. Boosted sex drive — especially in the beginning
When you’re single, you might not be constantly in a state of arousal, but when you’re in love (especially in those beginning honeymoon phases) your androgen hormones come into play. Androgens include testosterone, which naturally increases your desire for sex. Sex also leads to a cycle that’s propelled forward by dopamine and oxytocin. Plus, doing the dirty can make you feel closer to your partner, and why wouldn’t you want more of that?
10. You become addicted to them and worry when they’re not around
When you’re separated for your partner, whether for an hour, a night, or a month, you might worry. Not having your partner in your sight makes you feel like a drug addict coming off an addiction. Corticotropin is released in our bodies as a stress response when we’re away from our partner.
11. Your brain feels an increased willingness to sacrifice
All kinds of love require sacrifice and compromise — the size of these sacrifices can range from a certain paint color, or a huge decision like having kids, or moving to the other side of the country. As your love grows, you’re more likely to make compromises for these people due partially to our brain’s vagus nerve, which aligns and syncs partners up, further strengthening their bond.