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Neurological Signs of Being in Love

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It’s hard to argue that love isn’t one of the most primal feelings we have. After all, who can resist the rush of being in love? Everyone loves spending every free moment with their beloved or falling head over heels for someone they’ve only just met. But looking beyond this, what are the neurological signs that you’re actually in love?

When thinking back to your first love affair, it’s probably not something you’ll be able to remember clearly, but chances are it involved a lot of butterflies and tingles. Those are likely to be the neurological signs you’re already exhibiting when you fall in love.

It’s a well-known fact that cuddling, hugging, and kissing the one you love can instantly reduce any feelings of stress due to the production of hormones in the brain. Doing so in a serious relationship can increase feelings of calm, trust, and security as a result of oxytocin. Your mood will improve thanks to your brain flooding with dopamine. Science is beginning to parse the neural systems, chemical messengers, and inner workings of the brain in different romantic states to discover what stems behind the scenes of these types of patterns.

Looking beyond the obvious, here are some of the other neurological signs that you could be in love.

You Feel Less Stressed

You’ve probably heard that love is a powerful emotion, and it goes beyond the typical emotional response to an event. While there are many aspects of love that can be scientifically described, like heightened feelings of euphoria, there are also some less obvious neurological signs you may not have realized.

Studies have shown that people in love tend to feel less stressed overall whilst in a long-term relationship. A study published in 2005 suggested that forming a strong bond with your significant other could reduce levels of anxiety. Stress is the body’s response to danger, so when you’re in love and feeling safe, your brain will produce more of a hormone called oxytocin, which in turn, lowers any stress you may be experiencing. Love should be an easy emotion with the right person, and once you find the one, your levels of stress should decrease significantly.

You Feel Safe

One of the most common neurological signs of being in love is the feeling of safety. This can be strongly attributed to the lower stress levels you experience when falling in love. You might feel like nothing could go wrong as long as your significant other is there to protect you. The feeling of safety might extend beyond just feeling safe with your significant other, though. You might also feel safe when you’re alone, or even when you’re in a crowded room full of strangers.

As already mentioned, oxytocin is the hormone released through physical contacts such as hugging, kissing, and sex, and can deepen any feelings of attachment towards your partner. It has also been proven by a Harvard Medical School report to produce a certain calmness and feelings of security.

You Experience Emotional Changes

One of the lesser-known neurological signs of being in love is emotional changes. Love can make you feel more emotionally impulsive than usual, which isn’t always a bad thing. You can experience heightened positive emotions of love and it’s not uncommon to feel unfamiliar to these changes. Falling in love can often lead to exhilaration, euphoria, and energy, to name a few.

This is especially true if you’re falling in love for the first time. If you find yourself falling in love with someone who makes you happy, these emotional changes will likely settle eventually, leaving behind the positive emotions you feel.

You Get Butterflies in Your Stomach

This is a common symptom of being in love. Those ‘butterflies’ you feel in your stomach when you see your beloved can be attributed to the release of cortisol.

When you find your life partner and fall in love, your cortisol levels increase, as well as your brain producing more serotonin and dopamine. This makes your body go into flight-or-fight mode

The ‘butterfly’ feeling is explained by Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist, and neuroscientist: “Your limbic or emotional brain activates the vagus nerve that goes from the brain to your gut. When you get nervous, or when you get excited (as I explain to my patients, it’s the same feeling, but it depends on your interpretation of it) this nerve is stimulated that activates the gut.”

As for those tingles? These are easily explained. Your brain is flooded with oxytocin, which is also associated with feeling good. In fact, this may be one of the reasons why it feels so good to fall in love, as both neurotransmitters are associated with pleasure.

You Feel Happier Than Usual

When you’re in love, you’ll always have a permanent smile plastered on your face. It’s hard not to feel happier than usual when you’re with the person you adore. You might even find yourself laughing more and feeling like all is right in the world as long as you have them by your side.

This can largely be attributed to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brains’ reward and pleasure center. This can make couples feel happier around each other.

The Journal of Comparative Neurology published a study in 2005 which scanned 2,500 brain images of 17 individuals who claimed to be in love. They found that the participants who looked at their significant other showed higher brain activity levels in two areas that are highly associated with dopamine.

You Can Experience Emotional Dependency

When you fall in love, you become emotionally dependent on your partner. You might suddenly feel like you need them by your side, and that makes it incredibly difficult to leave the house or be apart from them for an extended period of time. This is something that usually goes away with time, but it never fades completely.

This is a sign that you may be in love. It’s easy to see how this would happen when you think about how much time people spend getting to know each other before they fall in love. If both of you are involved in the relationship, then it’s not hard to imagine why one person would need the other around all the time.

These feelings can often parallel the behavior of drug addicts. Being in love is a form of addiction, and when this is taken away from someone, they can experience withdrawals and relapse, according to a 2017 article in the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. The authors suggested that love can be extremely addictive because it is a need that can be temporarily satisfied, and if this changes for a longer period of time, it can become distracting for the individual. This really shows the extent to which people can fall in love with someone.

Relationship-Ready Rehash

As you can see, falling in love goes beyond just finding someone attractive. The brain releases specific hormones to make you feel certain emotions which impact our behavior.

Maybe next time you’re falling for the one, you may notice some of these tell-tale signs of falling in love. Have you already experienced some?

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