How the Brain Changes When in Love


Love is a complicated emotion with many definitions. It can be an intense feeling of attraction, a sense of deep attachment and closeness, or simply a strong feeling of affection and compassion for another person. It can also be a strong desire for commitment and fidelity. Love can be felt as a spiritual or religious experience, or as a moral imperative that motivates people to do good things for others. It can even be a feeling of contentment with one’s life and circumstances.

The word love has been a staple of popular culture for generations, and it’s no wonder – researchers have found that being in love can reduce stress and improve your health. A variety of studies have shown that being in loving relationships can lower blood pressure, boost immune function, and contribute to a longer lifespan – especially when you’re part of a community with other loved ones.

While some of us are lucky enough to find true love, for others it can be a complicated and frustrating experience. It’s important to understand how the brain changes when in love, as it can help you navigate this beautiful and complex emotion.

Falling in love often feels like an addictive rush, which may be why it’s so hard to resist. When you first meet someone you like, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, which stimulates your brain’s pleasure centers. This is why you might feel flushed, your heart races and your palms might be sweaty when you’re infatuated with someone. Later, as you bond with someone, the dopamine is replaced by oxytocin, which promotes feelings of trust and bonding.

This chemical shift in the brain helps you develop and maintain a long-term relationship. Unfortunately, it can also cause you to over-focus on your partner and neglect your own needs. In addition, the euphoria of being in love can actually make you more impulsive and risk-taking. When you’re in love, parts of your brain that normally warn you of danger (the amygdala) and help you evaluate decisions (the frontal lobe) go into hiatus. As a result, you may say or do something embarrassing to impress the object of your affections, or become more likely to overlook red flags when it comes to their character.

So if you want to be a happier, more fulfilled version of yourself, you should try to understand what makes you happy in the first place. For example, work on: (1) knowing what you value (and why), (2) accepting that not everything will always go your way and that’s okay, and (3) aligning your actions with your values. Ultimately, happiness isn’t about how positive you are or how much you laugh. It’s about how happy you are with your choices and the people who are in your life.