Falling or being in love can have a significant emotional impact on you. But did you know that it can also physically affect your heart? Below are a few things your heart experiences when you fall in love.
When you first notice someone that you are attracted to, the chemicals in your body get to work within seconds. Dopamine, phenethylamine and oxytocin are released into the bloodstream and pumped throughout the body by your heart. These chemicals ensure your senses are alert, and encourage bonding and attachment. As you get physically and emotionally closer, actions like hugging increase those secretions, and dopamine has links to feelings of desire and euphoria.
Testosterone also plays a role in attracting someone. When you are physically engaged, the testosterone released in the bloodstream passes across with bodily contact, which encourages bonding. Acts of affection such as kissing has been shown to lower cholesterol levels through hormone release, leading to a healthier heart.
Falling in love triggers the fight or flight reaction in the body. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are released into the bloodstream when the adrenal medulla in the brain releases catecholamines. This triggers the heart to beat faster and that is why you can feel it pumping away when you are attracted to someone. This reaction diverts blood to the essential organs such as your heart and away from others like your stomach. It explains why falling in love can make you lose your appetite. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone so when it is released into your bloodstream it can also make you feel weak at the knees.
With all those hormones and excitement, one might assume your blood pressure would be raised to the limit. But the effect of being in a loving relationship on your blood pressure actually lowers and normalizes your readings. Experiments have shown that hugging someone that you are in a loving relationship with actually lowers the blood pressure, whereas an unhealthy relationship can have the opposite effect. When someone gets that loving feeling through hugging, it triggers the release of oxytocin. This promotes a feeling of bonding and togetherness.
Social isolation and loneliness are linked to cardiovascular problems. Being lonely is connected to hardening of the arteries and plaque formation. It also leads to raised blood pressure levels, which can result in a stroke or heart disease. The action of hugging helps reduce blood pressure and is an excellent reason to nurture a special relationship.
The positive physical effects on the heart and circulation when you are falling in love go beyond a simple attraction to someone. They actually help people live healthier lifestyles.