Your Body on Love

What’s love got to do with it? Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I thought it would be fitting to see exactly how love affects us.

Love causes an overload in the brain of chemicals and hormones that produce feelings of pleasure, attachment and obsession. Here a few ways love affects our brain:

  • Hormones go haywire: There are 3 phases of love – lust, attraction and attachment. During the lust phase, hormones flood the body with feelings of intense desire. Adrenaline and norepinephrine make the heart race and the palms sweat, while the brain chemical dopamine creates feelings of euphoria, which can be called the “lover’s high.”
  • Works like a drug: When seeing an attractive face, even before we fall in love, the same part of the brain is activated as with painkillers: the opioid system. This part of the brain is responsible for feelings of “liking.”
  • Makes the blood pump: Being in love increases blood flow to the brain’s pleasure center. The surge in blood flow usually happens during the attraction phase, when partners become fixated on each other.
  • Causes us to act a little “OCD”: Love lowers levels of the brain chemical serotonin, a common attribute of obsessive-compulsive disorders. This drop in serotonin could explain why lovers display such single-minded focus on the object of their affection. It can also cause lovers to be “blind” to their partner’s undesirable traits in the early stages of a relationship, choosing to focus only on the good qualities.
  • Hormones create attachment: After people have been in love for some time, the body develops a tolerance to the pleasurable chemicals. The attraction phase leads to the attachment phase: the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin flood the brain and produce feelings of well-being and security.

Love not only has many health benefits, but it also makes us feel younger and live longer. So what are some of the health benefits of love?

  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes mental health
  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers the chances of having cancer
  • Lessens pain
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Improves our memory
  • Provides a sense of security
  • Raises your confidence

Who knew love could be so great for our health?! So don’t just celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day, it should be done everyday!

Dr. Jess

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2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.

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