The Science Behind Love

Have you ever seen or heard poets and philosophers talk about love in their work. Dating back to around the year 2000 B.C, the world’s oldest love letter was found and is currently located in the Ancient Orient Museum. The inscription, dating from the 8th century B.C, belongs to the Ancient Babylonian Era, and is described to be the world’s first known love poem.

However, what if I told you that there is an actual science behind what we call love? Being in love causes a huge change in the biochemistry of our brain. Scientists have identified three basic parts of love, each driven by a unique blend of chemicals in our brains. The first is lust and is governed by estrogen and testosterone in both women and men. The second is attraction. Dopamine, which is produced by the hypothalamus part of our brain, is released when we do things that feel good to us, such as spending our time with someone. Another chemical released is norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals make us giddy, energetic and can even lead to a decrease in appetite and insomnia. This means you can be so in love that you can’t eat or sleep. The last one is long-term attachment and is governed by the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin. Both of these chemicals encourage bonding. So, you might be wondering why does love hurt? Well, this is just the science behind what love is but, that doesn’t mean that love isn’t love. What hurts is when the feelings you get from attraction, lust, and companionship are rejected or bring negative feelings such as jealousy. If you are in the Friend Zone, love usually hurts because although you have the feelings you get from love, you are rejected or not seen the same as you see the person you like.

At the end of the day, everyone is able to define love for themselves differently because each person’s experiences are different, and although chemicals take a great chunk of what love is, love is love.

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