“Love is that condition in which the Happiness of another person is essential to your own”
– Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
It’s Valentine’s Day on Saturday 14 February. Whatever your opinion is about this day, it’s inextricably linked to love. People who are in love feel happier. But why is this? ‘People who are in love are in the same state as people who are addicted to opiates’, says Dr. Angelina Whalley. It that the reason why heartbreak feels like quitting drugs cold turkey?
Dr. Angelina Whalley is creative designer of BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project. On the physical effects of being in love, she says: ‘Adrenaline and noradrenaline – the stress hormones that tell us to flee in danger – are released into our systems, when we’re in love. They make you more focussed, more alert, more awake and more aware of your surroundings. This is probably why people who are in love perceive the world as being more beautiful.’
After the first phase of being in love and feeling butterflies, other hormones come into play. ‘To build a lasting relationship, the body needs chemical reactions that bind us to our partners. Vasopressin plays a role in regulating social and sexual behavior and bonds. Oxytocine is released during an orgasm and for women also during child-birth and breast feeding. This hormone is also called the ‘love hormone’.’
Discover the effects of love
Visit BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project with your partner (to be) and go on a fascinating journey through the human body, discovering the effects of love and being in love on your health, body and happiness.