9 Surprising Ways Love Hijacks Your Brain
It’s genuinely difficult to describe what being in love is like. In fact, millennia of singers and poets have tried their best. When left to the task, even musical giants like Taylor Swift only tell us things like “this love is difficult, but it’s real.”
We decide to make difficult love a bit easier to understand by diving into the science of it all. For example, did you know the very act of being in love affects your brain in a variety of ways? Keep reading to discover the most surprising ways falling in love affects your brain!
Becoming less judgmental
When you’re in love, you actually become less judgmental. But there’s one catch: you’re really only less judgmental when it comes to your romantic partner.
What does this mean in practice? Basically, when you’re head over heels in love, especially earlier in a relationship, you’re likely to overlook flaws and annoying things about your partner. And if they spell out some crazy ideas for their future plans, you may find yourself just smiling and nodding.
Ever see a buddy fall in love with someone and look right past all the red flags? That’s this lack of judgment at work!
The sudden boost of confidence
Have your friends noticed you’re walking with a bit more swagger and confidence these days? That may actually be an effect of being in love!
When you love someone and they love you back, this provides feelings of validation. In some cases, you may not have felt that way in a long time. And these positive feelings outweigh the insecurities you may have, leaving you feeling nice and confident.
In fact, this enhanced confidence is what many love most about new relationships. And if you know any serial daters, they may just be chasing the dragon of this confident feeling.
Overprotective mode activated
It has become a pop culture cliche that boyfriends in movies and TV shows fly off the handle when they think someone has insulted their girlfriend. And while that cliche is very over the top, it does have an unexpected basis in reality.
When you fall in love, you become overprotective of your partner. This goes hand in hand with feeling less judgmental. Not only are you likelier to overlook your partner’s flaws, but you’re likelier to be super protective if someone else tries to judge them.
In small doses, being overprotective is cute. But make sure to acknowledge that your partner is able to take care of themselves.
Addicted to love (no, really)
Decades ago, Robert Palmer sang a catchy song about being addicted to love. All these years later, it turns out that the song is more scientifically accurate than anyone ever imagined.
That’s because you can become genuinely addicted to love. Specifically, you can become addicted to the rush of positive chemicals that flood your brain when you are with your partner.
On the whole, this is more akin to someone being addicted to video games or even gambling. You won’t become chemically addicted (like what happens with alcohol and nicotine), but you may find yourself downright fiending for your next date.
Nervousness mixes with happiness
Love usually brings an insane level of anxiety into your brain. Rather than call it anxiety, though, we use the term “butterflies in your stomach.”
This term is accurate because anxiety is not fixed in one place. Rather, anxiety and happiness can make it feel like your body is fluttering up and down between the two extremes.
During this stage, it’s easy to get lost in your head about whether the relationship will last or not. We recommend just kicking back and enjoying the ride whenever possible.
Ready to risk it all
Ever done some really crazy things for love? Or maybe you’ve seen a friend travel around the country or even the world to spend time with someone? As it turns out, there’s a reason for that!
Generally speaking, loves makes you more willing to take risks. This is partially because, as we said before, your body is craving the rush of being with the person you love. And you’re willing to take some pretty big risks to keep that feeling going.
The other reason is simple: getting into a relationship in the first place is a pretty big risk in and of itself. And since that risk paid off, your brain may be ready to take even bigger risks in the name of love.
Being scatterbrained becomes the norm
We often use the phrase “head over heels in love” to describe someone intensely lost in their feelings. But this phrase hints at a funny little truth: love really does make you scatterbrained.
Ever had trouble concentrating on anything else when you are thinking about your lover? You’re not alone: love has this effect on people all around the world. The scatterbrained effect is likely to fade after the “honeymoon phase” ends, so we recommend navigating it as best you can until then.
Stabilizing negative feelings
Being in love is enough to make most people deliriously happy. As an added bonus, it can help those dealing with depression and certain neuroses to stabilize their minds.
There are several reasons for this. First, as we have noted, being in love helps you feel validated, and this can stabilize someone who suffers from feelings of self-doubt. Second, a boost of dopamine and other positive chemicals to the brain can help counteract signals of negativity.
Finally, being in a relationship provides your life with a regular routine. If things felt chaotic before, this routine feeling can help you feel more stable.
Better cognitive performance
Love often involves accepting many contradictions about your partner and your relationship. And there is a pretty big contradiction at the center of love, and that’s how it affects things like your problem-solving abilities.
As we reviewed earlier, being in love can make you scatterbrained. And this may be enough to keep you from completing tasks, even when those tasks are really important.
When you do sit down to focus on something, though, being in love may help you do better. That’s because the dopamine rush that comes from being in love helps out with both cognitive skills and even motor skills. So, you’ll be more effective at certain tasks than ever before…though it may be harder than ever to find the motivation to get started!