1. You can say goodbye to your weekly doctor visits. Love has facilitating mechanisms for beneficial motivation and behavior (Tobias Esch & George B. Stefano, 2005). Falling in love has also been found to increase oxytocin, the “happy hormone,” and decrease stress levels (Tobias Esch & George B. Stefano, 2005). Decreased stress levels mean an increased immune system which results in less pesky colds and tiresome visits to the doctor.
  2. You’ll feel happier overall. Love activates reward pathways, and subsequently releases feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone” and endorphins, which enhance pleasure (Tobias Esch & George B. Stefano, 2005).  Brain circuitry that facilitates and promotes negative emotion is “down-regulated” as arousal is increased (Tobias Esch & George B. Stefano, 2005). The saying “love is a drug” is somewhat scientifically correct. Love is fully involved in the limbic system, our reward pathway – the more we have, the more we need (Tobias Esch & George B. Stefano, 2005). So ditch the cigarettes, recreational drugs, and other unhealthy habits for love!
  3. You will view yourself more positively. Arthur Aron, Meg Paris, and Elaine N. Aron (1995) found that participants who fell in love used significantly more positive words when describing themselves, even after controlling for mood changes. A positive view of yourself results in a positive outlook towards life (and maybe a more positive view towards others as well). At the very least, it’s nice to wake up on the right side of the bed in the morning.
  4. It’s a one-way ticket to higher self-esteem. Not only are you more inclined to describe yourself more positively, you are significantly more likely to feel more positively about yourself (Aron et al., 1995). Your confidence in your ability to succeed and achieve your goals, otherwise known as self-efficacy, is significantly increased as well (Aron et al., 1995). If you want to feel better when you look in the mirror and continue training for that marathon you’ve been putting off for years, fall in love.
  5. Love increases feelings of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Robert J. Sternberg’s Triangle Theory of Love (1986) suggests just that. According to Sternberg’s theory, the intimacy aspect refers to feelings of closeness that likely derive from investment (Sternberg, 1986). We can count on our loved one in times of need while feeling valued and understood (Sternberg, 1986). And who doesn’t love passion and commitment on the side?

 

Falling in love is scary. As great as the reasons are above, there is something to be said about the consequences of falling in love. While self-esteem is heightened during the experience, a breakup can wreak havoc on your view of yourself. So go ahead and fall in love, but do so with caution.

 

Aron, A., Paris, M., & Aron, E.N. (1995). Falling in love: Prospective studies of self-concept change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 1102-1112.

Esch, T., & Stefano, G.B. (2005). The Neurobiology of Love. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 26.

Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A Triangular Theory of Love. Psychological Review, 93(2), 119-135.

 

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