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Friday, 16 August 2013
Love : Some Questions
Are you in love? Or were you in love at some point of time in past? You must have had a crush in school or college for sure! Regardless of your relationship status, you have a set of thoughts about love, i.e. what is love, what is not love etc. which presides your part of personality and mind which deals with love. But try to think of the times you felt that you are in love; it could have been years ago or in recent times. Probably you knew the person for a few months or even for a few years before you felt that you are in love with him/her. But who told you that you are in love? Was it that voice inside your brain? Or one of your close friends assured you that you are in love? Whatever is the source of the input, what made you decide that it is love, and not something else?
What builds the source of variables of the equation of love? We read books, we watch movies, we see couples holding hands and kissing and other lovers in relationship. Is our understanding of love limited to the objects around us and people we interact with? If that is true, isn’t that a huge constraint? And if it’s not, what is the thing which is teaching the world about love? Is it our own mind? But what about someone who falls in love with someone for first time and decides that he ‘is’ in love ? For such a person, the most basic understanding of what love is, should come from his worldly understanding only!
Before we fall in love, we merely know that people fall in love and it’s a wonderful feeling. But at what stage one realizes that he/she is in love? What is the critical point or stage here which separates your mind from ‘before love’ and ‘in love’? I had a good chat about this topic with one of my friends and she told me that with one of the guys in life, it was slow and gradual. First they used to talk about work and slowly the conversation turned personal and things went ahead. I guess then there is no clear indication from nothing to everything and it’s a gradual process. Having said all the questions about love, let’s look at the science behind it.
There are a lot of chemicals racing around your brain and body when you’re in love. That initial giddiness that comes when we’re first falling in love includes a racing heart, flushed skin and sweaty palms. Researchers say this is due to the dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine we’re releasing. Dopamine is thought to be the “pleasure chemical,” producing a feeling of bliss. Norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline and produces the racing heart and excitement. The human body releases the cocktail of love rapture only when certain conditions are met and … men more readily produce it than women, because of their more visual nature.”
There are three stages of love:
Lust: This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.
Attraction: This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.
Adrenaline: The initial stage of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.
Dopamine: This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!
Serotonin: One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.
Attachment: Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin: Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm. It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes. Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.
Vasopressin: Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.
And finally … how to fall in love
Find a complete stranger.
Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.
Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.
York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, has been studying why people fall in love.
He asked his subjects to carry out the above 3 steps and found that many of his couples felt deeply attracted after the 34 minute experiment.