LOVE: emotions? or chemicals?

Before you ask if am okay, rather before you start thinking that i have just been dealt a big blow to my heart *hrtbrk*, I am just a scientist trying to see love from the science perspective. Hun….dat was mouth…full.

Moving on,….you might want to know me a bit. Growing up, I didn’t understand love, not until recently. If I had love anything aside cartoons, may be I would have known a little. My Twinsake *as in namesake* p-square sha, didn’t help either, I accepted love as lust. To crown it all, church didn’t permit it-relationship, so i concluded love was for adults, married adults of course, so in school, seeing my friends hooking necks and using the 3word sentence got me really confused.

To get out of this misery of mine, I started with novels, then to movies, naija love films simplifies it, at least the ones I know. The best was listening to love stories both good and sad on radio. I had love radios from small *palito* very portable. All my ranting or superstory is that I understand love and know what it means to be in love or to be loved.

Now back to my lab.
That obsession of yours, racing heart, sweaty palms, appetite loss, insonmia-some ladies won’t sleep…don’t ask how I know, dyslexia….can’t focus on school-work, unemployment-you wanna spend all your time together, joblessness describes it better, might be as a result of some chemicals playing around in your head.

Most people think of love as an emotion. Love actually is more of a drive – like hunger or addiction. Love isn’t a unique emotion, but it leads to all kinds of emotions if you can’t get what you want.

My lab isn’t fully equiped yet so i resorted to my iLab.
Studies reveal that when shown a sweetie’s picture, a person’s brain will fire up in the same areas that respond when anticipating a favorite food, other pleasure and when they expect to win a lot of money or expect to have something very good happen to them. All those complex behaviours can be explained, at least
in part by the surge of just a few chemicals in our brain.
These sections in the brain controls some basic functions, such as eating, drinking and swallowing. Things people do without thinking i.e at unconscious level. That
may be why feelings associated with early love are so hard to control.

These areas are packed with cells that produce or
receive a brain chemical called dopamine (doh pa meen) aka feel-good chemical. Dopamine plays
many roles, one of which is contributing to feelings of pleasure and reward. When you spy on your favorite food or
win a big prize, your brain’s dopamine level soar. Dopamine also serves as a signaling
compound, chatting with other nerve cells. It also helps you to focus intensely on what you really want and pushes and energizes you to
take action and reach your goals…romantic goals/interest inclusive. Once smitten, a surge of dopamine helps make you
feel exhilarated.

Other chemicals in your body also work overtime when falling in love. Among them are chemicals that can activate a stress response, such as adrenaline. In high-stress situations, this hormone, aka Epinephrine (ep uh nef rin), increases
heart rate and supplies more oxygen to the muscles that readies the body to take action. It can also make your palms sweat when the object of your affection approaches.

Of course, there’s a downside to all of this stimulation. Any extra dopamine can also increase heart rate, as well as cause sleeplessness and loss of
appetite. It also may trigger non-stop thoughts of your sweetie. It may encourage you to spend endless hours talking or texting with your new beau. Your friends may even tell
you that you have become obsessed.

Fortunately, this frenzied, obsessive phase of love doesn’t last, it eventually ends. The passion usually
lasts for anywhere from a few months to perhaps a year or two. Afterward, your dopamine levels return to normal. You may experience fewer
adrenaline rushes, too.

Note, that doesn’t mean the love is gone. Not at all. As the exciting sizzle fades, another chemical comes onto the scene. As the exciting sizzle fades, another chemical comes onto the scene. All those moments of kissing, touching and laughing together can create another, more stable kind of bond. It is fueled by another body chemical with a strange-sounding name: oxytocin (ox ee toh sin).

Oxytocin’s most celebrated role comes
into play during and immediately after childbirth. It stimulates contractions during labour. It also promotes milk production in nursing mothers and it
helps mothers develop a sense of extraordinary closeness to their babies. It is no wonder oxytocin often is called the love hormone.

Beyond just mothers and their babies, oxytocin also helps all of us feel
connected with others. It may explain the love you feel toward family members, friends and even strangers…love at first sight very possible here. It may even explain your affection for a pet. Studies show that mammals of all types release oxytocin, an indication that Fido may really love you back.

This hormone even encourages bonding between people in love.
Studies show that certain forms of touch such as hand-holding and kissing, can make oxytocin level soar. One of the best ways to boost oxytocin is to hug someone.

People who reach out to friends through Facebook and other types of social media experience changes in hormone levels as well that stimulate feelings of calmness, bonding and trust.

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8 thoughts on “LOVE: emotions? or chemicals?

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