Valentine’s Day is around the corner, spring romances are almost upon us, and your favorite Colorado Heart doctors have decided to describe the biological processes that occur when one is in love. Love isn’t just a mindset, actual chemical reactions occur at the neurological level that begins to affect several parts of our body.
First of all, at a chemical level, the state of attraction is rendered by a set of neurotransmitters called phenethylamine, dopamine, and oxytocin that put us in that dizzying state. These chemicals effect our emotions and senses, making us more alert and open. Essentially, once you start considering attraction to somebody, your body can immediately start producing those chemicals to make you susceptible. Once the chemicals kick into gear, your body follows suit in several different ways.
First and foremost, when you are near somebody you have a strong attraction to; your pupils almost always will dilate. It has nothing to do with light sensitivity, our eyes in a lot of ways really our windows into our souls, so to speak. Pupil dilation is caused by our nervous system in reaction to our environment. They expand as a part of our body’s reaction to the above chemicals that heighten our senses. Your pupils will dilate in cases of fear, or in this case, desire.
But that love-bug doesn’t stop at your eyes. Ever wondered why love is often described as a “weak-in-the-knees” or “butterflies in your stomach” feeling? Believe it or not, these aren’t just clichéd metaphors. As your body becomes more alert, your heart begins to beat faster, causing your body to begin diverting some blood from certain organs, such as your extremities and stomach. The result is that tingling feeling that makes you want to giggle, but it’s nothing more than a cardiovascular response. As your senses heighten, and aspects of your body’s system are altered — you can become addicted to the state. The claim that love is a drug is also no accident. Our bodies begin to crave those chemicals for the ecstasy it puts us in. That addiction makes us want to see our partners again and again, and is the biological building blocks for romantic partnership.
But don’t let this article take the magic out of being in love. Biological processes are the foundation for all of our emotional states, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfectly understood. We all love differently, and have different values and characteristics that we are attracted to. Those differences are what makes it so special when two people find each other and have a successful relationship. Though there are similarities involved, every love is unique, and that’s why we take that leap of faith with every budding romance. Finding that person in your life is what makes falling in love so worth it. From all of us at South Denver Cardiology, may we wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day.
How To Use This Information
Our heart and mind collaborate in such interesting ways, it’s fascinating to explore just how those interactions affect us in a practical sense. Falling in love is no different, and if you’re curious what other emotions can affect the cardiovascular system, ask one of our brilliant cardiologists the next time you’re in for an appointment.