The Power and Science of Love



The urgency arrives, arms extend outward and wrap around those to whom we want to express the language of love. Six seconds releases the maximum levels of oxytocin and serotonin—the best type of feel-good hormones. Science can measure the biochemical changes derived from the brain. In the need for physical touch to lower anxiety and stress, we cuddle, hold hands, and accept companionship from family, friends, and pets. Love truly is empowering, for one moment to many years. In the expanding list of objects, places, and living creatures, each of us can connect with something that our hearts define unconditionally as love.

People

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

What is love? This puzzling question has had anthropologists and neurobiologists seeking an explanation for decades. The scientific answer is both simple and complex.  Think about a person you find attractive. Perhaps moisture develops in your hands and heat rises to redden your cheeks. Science has categorized three types of hormones:

  1. Physical attraction increases levels of testosterone or estrogen, which drives the need to reproduce.
  2. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin create giddiness, energy, and a feeling of euphoria.
  3. Oxytocin and vasopressin surpass the overpowering feelings of infatuation and aid us toward entering a long-term relationship.

Love is chemical and chemistry!

Most of us can define their perception of why we have a romantic attraction and constant affection.  Needless to say, the answer continues to be a work in progress, and perhaps for you, too!

Animals

“Animals touch the most intimate parts of our hearts: our need to nurture and protect, our need for companionship and love.”  ~Unknown

According to the National Pet Owners’ Survey, conducted across 2019 and 2020, 67% of American households, roughly 85 million families, own a pet.  That is the one form of love we can give and receive unconditionally. A pet provides love with no concern for our wealth, habits, job, or emotions.  A simple wagging tail or purr; the pressure of a cold nose or warm body leads to contentment in the human psyche.  Any definition of a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit, fish, chicken, or cow offers powerful health benefits.  The act of caring for an animal plays a role in healthy aging by relieving anxiety, lowering stress levels, and improving heart health!

Traveling

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered why you love particular locations, such as the mountains, a particular city, or a tropical paradise?  The exposure to a familiar place with beloved people creates time for self and reflection, and presents a joyous new memory far from home.  Remembering a place in which you felt relaxed, happy, and loved encourages the mind to return to similar or new locations.

Nature

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

One picture of a nature scene can boost psychological wellbeing, and lift the spirits.  We find connection, hope, and healing through pictorial scenes, whether painted, viewed through a window, or televised. Do you wonder why you love the beach or the mountains?  It derives from the senses of sight and smell, and psychologically, color.  We tend to choose experiences that reflect our emotional needs. For example:

  • Blue is a hue of power and purity, reflected in the sky, mountains, and sea.
  • Yellow signifies purity and brightness.
  • Green, combining yellow and blue, is a mixture of perfect equality. The ideal activity is to walk among a forest of green.

Go outdoors and find a place of the heart to be among nature.  In the light, connect to the purple mountains, the green flowing grasses, the small to tall flowers, and the journey of waterways. Find glory in the colors of a breathtaking sunset and let your soul transcend beyond the glowing stars toward the heavens. Biologically, your pulse rate, nervous system, and blood pressure will slow, just from being present in the natural world.

February is a month to fall in love, awaken passions, and find something beautiful in each day.  Discover the thousands of reasons your heart beats rapidly, your eyes tear, and your smile broadens!


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