The Chemistry of Love

Try to think of a song, film or poem about love. It’s not hard to think of one, is it? Love seems to be an important theme in all cultures. Not only the love between two people in a romantic relationship but also the strong positive feelings we have for other people, such as family members or close friends, or even for a pet. There are many kinds of love; sisterly and brotherly love, the love between a parent and a child, the love between close friends and romantic love. Love is a basic human emotion, but science has struggled to understand exactly what it is. Psychologists and researchers have proposed a number of different theories. However, they all seem to agree love is a miracle drug!

The health-benefits of love

Having good, loving relations with other people gives you a general sense of well-being. The warm feeling you get when you feel loved by family members and close friends is invaluable. Knowing that someone accepts you for who you are, supports you and cares for you can make you feel safe, peaceful and optimistic. Love can actually have health benefits as well. For instance, it can relieve pain and reduce stress.

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A boy and a man cuddling and smiling

Physical contact releases “the cuddle hormone”

The physical contact that you have with loved ones helps the body release hormones that make you healthy and happy. Giving or receiving a warm hug or cuddling with someone actually has an effect on the chemistry in your body. One of the hormones released by physical contact is oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone”. It makes you more relaxed and content. It can give your self-esteem a boost. In addition, oxytocin has positive impacts on your physical health. It strengthens your immune system and lowers your blood pressure. It is even said to reduce cravings for sweets! Other kinds of physical contact, such as holding hands, kissing, getting a massage – even a friendly pat on the back – have some of the same effects. Imagine if hugging was prescribed by doctors as a medicine for loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress!

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Girl cuddling with cute pet dog

Romantic love

When we fall in love, a cocktail of chemicals rushes through our bodies. These chemicals have physical effects. Adrenaline is one of the hormones that gives you butterflies in your stomach and causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat. In the early stages of a relationship, couples can be intensely focused on each other. They may experience loss of appetite, sleeplessness, intense energy and a feeling of bliss. This is all caused by the different love hormones. Sooner or later, the head-over-heels stage of a love relationship ends. However, if the chemistry between a couple is right, new love hormones take over and replace overwhelming passion with a feeling of attachment and comfort. To sum up, good relations with other people is an essential key to a healthy and happy life. There are lots of benefits from being part of a loving family or having supportive friends. Many of these benefits come from the hormones released in the body when we feel loved and share a special connection with someone. When we are in love, the body experiences a rush of hormones that have both physical and psychological effects. Truly, love is a wonder-drug!

Boy and girl kissing in the park

Sources – LOKUS

Photos: iStock

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