Your Body On... Love

Valentine's Day is not just about candy hearts and flowers. A little bit of love can go a long way toward improving your health and your mood.

You’re having a total bummer of an afternoon: Between a disappointing test score and a mountain of undone chores, you're completely over Thursday.  Then suddenly, you get a nuzzle from a happy Labrador, a smile from your bus crush, or a hilarious meme from a friend, and all seems right with the world.

Chalk it up to the power of love. Whether platonic or romantic, love is one of the most powerful emotions you can experience—not to mention one of the nicest! While we talk about love as something you experience in your heart, the truth is that the hormones triggered by feelings of affection have an effect on your whole body. Beyond boosting your mood in the moment, love, whether toward a pet, friend, family member, or partner, can actually improve your overall physical health. Here’s what’s going on inside your body when you get hit in the feels.

Brain

The feelings of love are produced by hormones in the brain. Love creates a rush of dopamine and oxytocin, which promote a happy mood and sense of well-being.

Immune System

Studies have shown being in love or feeling cared for can strengthen the immune system by increasing your cells’ production of a type of protein that helps the body fight off infections.

Skin

The adrenaline love produces can make your palms sweat and your face flush. Meanwhile, oxytocin helps reduce inflammation, increasing your skin’s ability to heal itself.

Heart

Feeling love can lower your blood pressure and decrease stress. But romantic love can also trigger the release of heart rate-increasing adrenaline, which is why your heart might feel like it’s pounding when you see your crush.

Stomach

Those butterflies in your belly? They come from the same adrenaline spike that diverts blood from the stomach and toward the heart and other muscles.

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