Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching
Newsletter 21 - Love
the N in NeuroLanguage Coaching®
"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind"
— William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
It’s February, we are getting hit with Valentine Day and heart galore. While Valentine Day as a business opportunity might be questionable or not - a day dedicated to love, a week dedicated to love…heck a whole month dedicated to love, why not?
So here we go for the 1st part of 3, dedicated to what makes the world go round: love - could be love of money, love of power, ‘tis love nevertheless.
So what’s happening in our brains
1) The Spark of Connection: Adrenaline, Dopamine
At the dawn of a romantic connection, our bodies respond with:
an adrenaline surge, preparing us for action and enhancing our performance. This powerful effect elevates our heart rate, making the first pangs of love and attraction palpable in our chests.
and dopamine, known as the “feel-good” chemical, floods our system, creating euphoria akin to that induced by cocaine. This rush triggers sexual arousal, a racing heart, and a motivation that heightens the excitement of new love, all orchestrated from the ventral tegmental area (VTA).
*Extra info: the VTA is part of the brain’s reward system, which also involves other regions, such as the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens. The caudate nucleus plays a role in detecting rewards and potential love interests, while the nucleus accumbens is involved in the pleasure and reinforcement of romantic attraction. The orbitofrontal cortex, another part of the reward system, helps us evaluate the attractiveness and suitability of our partners.
2) Emotional Highs and Lows : Cortisol, Serotonin
When you feel a surge of emotion
Cortisol is released in response to the stress of intense emotions, acting as a calming force to restore balance. This process is vital for managing stress and emotional arousal.
(keeping in mind that cortisol can also have negative effects, such as increasing anxiety and aggression, depending on the situation and the individual).
Due to this increase in cortisol…
levels of Serotonin decrease, which affects mood, appetite, sleep, attention, judgment, and leads to obsessive thoughts in the early stages of love. Serotonin affects mood, social behavior, and a range of other psychological functions. Its role extends to influencing how we perceive and interact with others, impacting feelings of happiness and well-being.
*Extra info: The hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and vasopressin, stimulating the pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which in turn prompts the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
The anterior cingulate cortex is another part of the brain that plays an important role in love. It engages during experiences of physical and emotional pain, indicating its role in processing emotional states and social rejection. This region is involved in the body’s response to stress, influencing the release of cortisol, and can also affect serotonin levels, which are linked to mood regulation.
3) Passion to deep connection: Oxytocin and Vasopressin
As love matures, the chemical cocktail evolves:
Oxytocin, is released in response to emotional bonding and physical closeness. This ‘cuddle hormone’ fosters trust and deeper connections.
Vasopressin is triggered by factors that promote pair bonding and commitment. This ‘loyalty hormone’ strengthens long-term connections and is key in the development of monogamous relationships. It acts on various parts of the brain to influence social behavior and emotional attachment.
Other factors, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, may also play a role in modulating attachment and intimacy. Endorphins are natural painkillers that also induce euphoria and relaxation. Endocannabinoids are similar to the active ingredient in cannabis, and they enhance pleasure and reward.
*Extra info: Oxytocin is regulated by the hypothalamus, highlighting its role in the complex biological and emotional tapestry of long-term relationships. The nucleus accumbens houses numerous oxytocin receptors, making it a crucial area for bonding and reward-related processes, particularly in the context of social and romantic attachments. Vasopressin is produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream.
Beyond the Brain’s Chemistry
While our understanding of love has been enriched by science, reducing love to mere chemical interactions would be an oversimplification of the profound emotional and psychological experiences it encompasses. Love, in its essence, remains one of life’s greatest mysteries—a phenomenon that transcends scientific explanation.
In the next edition of our newsletter, we’ll dive into the topic of love and language learning. Or maybe, the language of love? Stay tuned to find out!
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Until next time, keep loving and learning!
If you want to know more about the neuroscience of love, you should click here
And if you want to go back on my past newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletters webpage
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Good to know
The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF
La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching