What Is Love? – How Your Brain Defines It

Ever since the dawn of humankind, people have been wondering, “What is love?” This question has captivated philosophers, poets, and songwriters — and thanks to advances in brain imaging technology, it’s even become a topic for scientists.

While it may be difficult to define love, everyone seems to agree that it includes feelings of affection, protectiveness, and warmth for another person. This definition is broad enough to include the love of family and friends, but it also extends to non-human animals and ideas, such as freedom or religion. It’s also important to note that the word love can mean different things at different times. It’s a complicated emotion that can be irrational, emotional, and volatile – but it’s always worth pursuing.

Whether it’s romantic infatuation or the love of a good friend, we all know what it feels like to fall in and out of love. There are days when you’ll wake up and feel like the world is crashing down around you, and other times when you can’t imagine loving anyone more. The good news is that most of these ups and downs are normal, and if you’re in the right relationship, it will eventually work out for the best.

One of the first signs that you are in true love is when you can’t stop thinking about your romantic interest. This euphoria is the result of an influx of chemicals in your brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine, that create a state of obsession and anticipation. These chemicals also help to lower stress levels and suppress anxiety. As a result, you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more time with your partner and will likely prioritize them above all others in your life.

If you can get past the giddy excitement of infatuation and see that you share similar values with your partner, you’ve moved on to the second stage of love: commitment. This is often reflected by how you act toward each other, including by displaying physical touch and offering gifts. At this stage, the influx of love chemicals begins to decline and is replaced by two other hormones: oxytocin and vasopressin, which are associated with attachment and sense of safety.

Once you’ve established that you are in a committed relationship, you will begin to develop the third and final phase of love: intimacy. This includes a feeling of trust and closeness that is reinforced by sharing emotions (like anger), spending time together, and engaging in sexual activity. It’s also reflected in your behavior, such as being patient and kind and being there for your partner when they need you. It’s a sense of knowing that you can be your whole self with this person, without fear of judgment or criticism. The feeling of intimacy can also be enhanced by shared experiences, such as traveling and exploring new places.