Infatuations or crushes are exciting yet scary. Most times we don’t even know it ourselves and unfortunately, we can’t fool our friends. They can see our pupils dilating when our crush is around, a smile curling up when the name is mentioned and even our behavior changing to mimic our crush.
What’s happening to my heart?
So why do we act so uncontrollably silly? Why does our heart pound so hard, get sweaty palms and go speechless when that person is around? Well, the reason has nothing to do with our heart but everything to do with our head.
When we ‘fall in love’, chemicals such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin are released in our brain causing physical and emotional response such as racing heart, flushed cheeks and even feelings of anxiety. Our brain recognizes this gush of neuro chemicals as a ‘crises’ and our stress hormones increase, especially in the early stages of romantic love. Unfortunately serotonin levels deplete with excessive increase in stress hormones. Since we need serotonin for our neurons to connect our thought processes properly, our executive cognitive control is affected. In other words, we can’t think straight and we find it hard to get our crush out of our heads.
How do we know it’s real?
When we go on a roller-coaster ride or experience any situation that gets us emotionally aroused, the same chemical experience can happen in our heads. Sometimes our brain can’t really tell the two situations apart. Research has been done where people were made to go through a dangerous situation and some of them fell in love after that experience because they couldn’t tell the difference. Based on Schachter and Singer’s Two factor theory of emotions, we may feel physical sensation, but we will need to label the emotion to recognize what we are feeling. Then based on the situation, we can make sense of what the emotions really mean.
So, is it real? Well, don’t base it just on emotions. Get more information, get to know that person, use your wise mind to think, then see if the love fits you.
If you’ve gone past that infatuation stage and looking to better your relationship, read about how to understand your loved one.