So you have a crush.
It’s the start of a chemical roller coaster inside your brain: Here's the breakdown -
1. Typical crush freak out: you're flustered and your heart beats faster when you're around them.
What it means: You level of that handy hormone adrenaline goes up when you’re around someone you're interested in, leading to a whole host of really attractive (aka uncomfortable) reactions from your body.
2. Your thoughts about them border on obsessive...don't lie.
What it means: When you fall in love or are crushing really hard, your level of the hormone serotonin (which is meant to have a calming affect) suddenly drops off. Serotonin levels also are low in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which might explain why you can’t stop thinking about that certain someone.
3. Suddenly you're a stressed mess.
What it means: Your cortisol levels go up when you’re falling in love. Also known as the hormone hydrocortisone, cortisol is released in response to stress.
4. In women, testosterone goes up, but in men it goes down.
What it means: According to a study at the University of Pisa, men who were in love had lower levels of testosterone - linked to aggression and sex drive - than the other men. Love-struck women, on the other hand, had higher levels of testosterone.
"Men, in some way, had become more like women, and women had become like men," says the head researcher. "It's as if nature wants to eliminate what can be different in men and women, because it's more important to survive [and mate] at this stage."
5. Say hello to euphoria, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and a rush of motivation.
What it means: You can say thanks to neurotransmitter dopamine for that. When you're falling in love, your brain releases that handy chemical that is also what is responsible for making love feel addictive. So basically, you're going to be a little insane.
6. And then when you kiss...SO MUCH DOPAMINE.
What it means: Dopamine spikes during these experiences - especially the first kiss- and makes us crave more.
7. Your pupils dilate.
What it means: A kiss can cause our blood vessels to dilate, our pulse to quicken and cheeks to flush. Our pupils grow wide, which is likely one reason that so many of us close our eyes.
8. Your heart races
What it means: Your heart beats faster, too, and more oxygen reaches your brain thanks to neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine which promote our fight-or-flight response.
9. Over time, the stress is less.
What it means: Kissing appears to lower your levels of stress hormone cortisol. The longer the relationship, the lower your stress levels caused by love.
10. Mentally, you're blinded by love.
What it means: You think your crush is pretty much perfect. And that's NOT A BAD THING. While you should be honest with yourself about your partner, one study found that people who idealized their lovers were more satisfied in their relationships.