Dr. Joy Miller Shares Tips for Sustaining Love

Love, Love Ya Do

By WEEK Reporter

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:46 PM CDT

Love, Love ya do…

We may be past Valentine’s Day, but it is certain that everyone loves being in love.

Your heart races and all you can think about is your significant other—in the best way possible.

But what really happens when you fall in love? Dr. Joy Miller is looking at that phenomenon and put some research behind the feelings.

What do we know about love from purely a physiological basis?

• Typically your heart starts to race due to an adrenaline rush. This happens when the brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland and it secrets hormones such as adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These flow through the blood stream and the heart beats faster
• The norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone makes you feel weak in the knees
• By using brain imagining we have learned that people who are “madly in love” found activity in the brain that produces dopamine and that gives you focused attention, the craving, euphoria, the energy and motivation.
• Some believe that serotonin levels rise and this activates obsessive thinking
• Researchers have also shown that cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, increases for 30 minutes at the thought of a picture of their loved one.

Are there are positive effects of being in love?

• Love makes people feel optimistic, energetic and motivated
• People who are in love live longer, have fewer heart problems, and lower blood pressure
• 1995 study showed that people who are married adds 7 years to a man’s life and 2 years to a woman’s life.

Could you give us a few tips to enhance our love life?

• Make love a priority. Find the time to make your love relationship a key aspect of your life.
• Love the person, not the potential. Be realistic about the person you love. If you are looking to change them, then you are looking to lose at love
• Be present. By that I mean that be focused on the relationship and the other person vs. other things in your life.
• Be your best self. Be honest about who you are, and be willing to give your relationship all of you in a healthy way.

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