Choose Happy

What happens to our brain when we connect with a loved one?

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Learn about the powerful relationship between love and mental health, and discover why interpersonal connections are so important for all of us.

How Connecting With a Loved One Benefits the Brain

Brain science has taught us a lot about positive and negative thinking and relationships with loved ones. Loving relationships tend to make us more positive and even help us to live longer in many cases. Let’s look at the relationship between love and brain activity, and more importantly, let’s observe how this information relates to the subject of how to be more optimistic and happy.

Love Connections

The brain’s activity triggers the way we interact with people and influences behavior. According to neuroscientists, romantic love releases so many happy-go-lucky neurotransmitters in the bloodstream that the effects can actually outdo those of some drugs. Dopamine gives you a thrill when a newly beloved person comes into view. A nerve growth factor referred to as neurotrophin accompanies the euphoria and increases emotional dependency. The level of serotonin drops, causing the desire dial to crank up. The chemical cocktail causes infatuation.

As relationships mature, people become less obsessive. When the bonding phase begins, the raphe nuclei start to produce more serotonin. Higher serotonin levels are associated with greater contentment and reduced depression. This neurotransmitter also aids in building a trusting attachment for a long-term relationship.

What It All Means

We can break down the science all day, but the key takeaway here is that our brains are wired for love and human connection. Many of the processes we’ve described here are present in all types of interpersonal attachment. For instance, dopamine levels increase not just when you’re getting acquainted with a significant other but also when you’re reconnecting with an old friend or spending time with a treasured relative. If you’re wondering how to be more happy, it all starts with cherishing and spending quality time with the people who are important to you. Something as simple as saying “I love you” or “I appreciate you” to a significant other or family member can boost your mental health as well as theirs. Make a positive impact on the ones who matter to you, and you’ll find yourself living an awesome life.

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