Find out what happens to your body when you see someone you love (and more!)
Ever wonder what the science behind heartbreak is? Find the answer here.
Love doesn't have to be all about romance. It can also be about SCIENCE.
And who doesn't love some science? Let's take a look at some of the hard facts of the history and science of the heart.
Hahhhh. Get it? Limbic system = part of the brain.
FACT: By 2000 B.C., Chinese doctors had uncovered the heart's role in pumping blood throughout the body.
This diagram of the heart is from a medical book published in 1864.
Yep, they figured that ish out in 2000 B.C., as in 4,000 years before today. Also known as a ridiculously long time ago. Meanwhile (or rather, about 1,600 years later), Aristotle was busy hypothesizing that the heart was the center of intelligence. Even through the Renaissance, many great thinkers believed that the heart governed a person's emotions — "a notion so powerful that it still persists today in a different form."
FACT: Even though feelings of love come from our brain, we really can physically feel them.
Pretty cool, huh? Let's take a look at both sides of this coin.
The "happy side" of feeling love is that when you see a loved one, your brain stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that make you feel real good. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are secreted from your adrenal glands, which cause your heart to beat faster.
Of course, those aren't the only neurotransmitters involved in love. There are SO many chemicals and hormones at play — dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin ... on and on. They all work together to govern sex drive, partner preference, and attachment. It's complicated science, but the bottom line is simple: When you're in love, your body reacts big time. It's far from "all in your head."
Slightly cute, mostly creepy. For more info on other chemicals involved in love, check out this video.
The "heartbroken side" of feeling love is that emotional loss activates the same region of your brain as physical pain. This can lead to great levels of neurological stress, which can actually overstimulate your vagus nerve, causing nausea, dizziness, and physical pain. That's heartbreak.
And that's why you can actually feel a broken heart.
FACT: Many animals average 1 billion heartbeats in their lifetime, no matter their size or life span.
That's heart beats per minute, life span in years, and lifetime heartbeats in billions.
Small animals have a larger ratio of surface area to mass, so they lose heat more quickly and have higher metabolic rates — which are linked to shorter life spans. As mass goes up, so do life spans while heart rates go down.
Is this all just a complicated way of saying that mice don't live very long? Maybe so.
But HUMANS defy the billion beat hypothesis. We live three times as long as we should with about twice as many heartbeats as we should be "allotted." Why? Because modern science and medicine have extended our life span. It's pretty corny, but ...
Caring for one another helps humans defy the principles of science.
Awwww. Want to catch the whole video, with even more facts about loooooooove? Here it is: