Ah, love. Who doesn’t want to know what it’s like to be swept off your feet into the arms of a lover? Love is what makes the world go round. It’s the reason behind most of our actions. Why else would we go to work every day to a job we hate if we didn’t love our fur baby and want to provide them with a life of comfort? Romantic love, however, is the strongest type of love and can make us feel euphoric. It turns out that’s because of chemicals in our brain that are released when we’re in love. These chemicals, often referred to as the love hormones, are responsible for the way we feel when we’re in love. Serotonin (a hormone known to have a positive effect on our mood), for example, increases when we feel attraction to our partner. Keep reading to find out more about your brain in love and how to increase serotonin in your relationship.
The Stages of Love
Love, or the feeling of love, can be explained by science. In essence, romantic love and sexual attraction are biological processes that exist to entice the act of reproduction. Basically, our biology insists we have sex so that we can continue to populate the earth. To entice us to want to have sex, our brains release all kinds of chemicals that make us feel good. We then associate this good feeling with our partners, which in turn makes us want to be closer to them. When we get close enough then, well, you know what happens (sex).
The stages of love involve lust, attraction, and attachment. Lust is the initial stage guided by our sex hormones, testosterone, and estrogen. Lust is our desire for sexual gratification that we need to get from another person. When we lust for someone, we basically just want to get in their pants. Lust encourages sexual behavior. But from lust sometimes comes attraction. Attraction is when we develop a crush on our would-be romantic partner. Our hearts start to pitter-patter and before you know it, you’re completely obsessed with them. Attachment is the last stage of love, or when deeper feelings start to emerge. Attachment is the most important aspect of a successful relationship. Unless you form a close bond with your partner, there is little likelihood of you two surviving as a couple.
The Love Hormones
Oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are known as the “happy hormones” and they all play a role in how sexual attraction in a relationship can help increase serotonin. When you are sexually attracted to someone, your brain releases dopamine, which then increases your serotonin levels, leading to the production of oxytocin (or the “love hormone”). How does each of these hormones play a role in your relationship?
Dopamine is a hormone released when we do things that feel good to us. Dopamine is associated with our brain’s reward system. Every time we do something we find enjoyable, like sex, drugs, gambling, or eating sweets, our brain releases dopamine. Our brains are wired to guide us towards things that make us feel good and dissuade us from things that make us feel bad. Possibly, this has something to do with our early days as humans. Wiring our brains this way would encourage species survival. Staying away from bad things that could kill us (foods that might be poisonous or fire that could burn us) and seeking out things that brought us pleasure (food, sex, comfort) might have helped our ancestors survive longer. Dopamine is also released in the initial stages of attraction. It’s what causes us to feel giddy, excited, and even euphoric at the thought of seeing our crush. When they say love is like a drug, they quite literally mean it. In a sense, you could be quite possibly addicted to love, or at least addicted to how they make you feel. When you’re attracted to someone, your brain fires off dopamine like crazy. It’s this dopamine fix that further connects the pathways of pleasure from your brain to your lover. If you’ve ever felt like you just “couldn’t get enough” of your partner, it’s because of dopamine.
Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the brain that’s main function is to help women during childbirth. When oxytocin is released into the bloodstream, it causes women’s uteruses to contract, allowing for childbirth. Once the baby is born, oxytocin also helps to stimulate breast milk and helps mothers create a bond with their baby. Our brain also releases oxytocin when we touch, kiss, or cuddle with the ones we love, including our pets. It’s been branded the “love hormone” specifically for how it makes us feel when we are with the ones we love. When released, oxytocin makes us feel calm, secure, and happy, which strengthens our bond with them. Oxytocin is also released during sex and can trigger powerful orgasms in both men and women. However, women need more oxytocin to orgasm than men. Yet another reason why foreplay is so important before sex. Are we right ladies?
Serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells that send signals between other nerve cells to regulate certain bodily functions. Serotonin is found in blood platelets, throughout the central nervous system, and in the digestive system. Why is serotonin important? Serotonin is important because it impacts every part of your body. Also considered one of the “happy hormones”, serotonin acts as a natural mood stabilizer and controls anxiety. Low levels of serotonin are linked to mood disorders like depression and sleep problems. It also plays a role in your digestion, wound healing, and bone health. Serotonin is shown to increase in women who are in love, especially those who reported having more obsessive thinking about their partners.
Interestingly enough, serotonin levels in men decrease when they are in love. Even more interesting, lower levels of serotonin are associated with increased libido while higher levels of serotonin are linked to decreased libido. If you’re scratching your head wondering how decreasing libido in one sex, while increasing it in the other sex is supposed to initiate reproduction, who knows? But it’s thought that the decrease in serotonin for men may lead to more sexual desire or neediness for their partner. In turn, men are more likely to pursue or stay faithful to one partner. However, not enough serotonin can also contribute to mental distress. Knowing how to increase serotonin may help to prevent mental health problems.
The Benefit of Knowing How to Increase Serotonin in Your Relationship
Knowing how to increase serotonin may benefit your relationship in the long run. As your relationship progresses further, both you and your partner’s hormone levels should return to normal. What this means is that you will no longer experience some of the erratic behaviors of budding love (like butterflies, anxiety, or intense dopamine rush) that the love hormones were responsible for producing. During the attachment stage, you and your partner will feel more comfortable with one another. Your feelings will still be there, but maybe not as intense or obsessive as they once were.
For men, this means serotonin levels may rise while for women, serotonin levels will fall. Because serotonin is such an important hormone for regulating your mood, a drop in serotonin levels may make you feel less enthused than usual. If you suffer from depression (a condition associated with low levels of serotonin), a drop in your serotonin levels could make you feel especially blue. The benefits of serotonin and knowing how to increase serotonin may improve your mood, which might make you feel happier in your relationship.
Serotonin Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Stress and anxiety trigger all kinds of emotions, especially in a relationship. When you’re feeling stressed about something, you’re more likely to start a fight with your partner. While fights are normal in a relationship, continuous fighting can harm your relationship in the long run. Stress and anxiety can make you act out in ways you wouldn’t normally. Low levels of serotonin contribute to these negative emotions and until you learn how to increase serotonin, you may continue to feel this way. Knowing how to increase serotonin will regulate your emotions. You will feel calmer and better able to handle disagreements with your partner. When you know how to increase serotonin, your mood will stabilize, and you will feel less inclined to bicker with your partner.
How To Increase Serotonin Levels
Love triggers a cocktail of neurotransmitters (the love hormones) which make you feel good. However, once your brain becomes used to the stimulus (your partner) it’s not guaranteed to work that way all the time. You must continually work at creating happiness in your relationship. Learning how to increase serotonin can help you keep those happy feelings alive. There are ways on how to increase serotonin both with medication, supplements, and lifestyle changes. Below are some ways how to increase serotonin to benefit your relationship:
How To Increase Serotonin With Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) is a medication commonly used to treat depression. SSRIs increase the level of serotonin in your brain by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin into neurons. In doing so it makes more serotonin available for the brain to release into your bloodstream. SSRIs are a safe drug for most people, but they may have some mild side effects such as nausea and headaches. Another possible side effect is sexual dysfunction or low libido. Elevated levels of serotonin in the brain have been shown to reduce sexual desire in some people, especially during long time use. Antidepressants are one way how to increase serotonin, but your doctor will likely only prescribe them if you are dealing with depression. If you are interested in how to increase serotonin just slightly to benefit your relationship, there are ways to do it without using prescription drugs.
How To Increase Serotonin With Positive Memories
We know that sexual attraction in a relationship can be a way how to increase serotonin. However, we also know that most of the giddy feelings we experience at the beginning of a relationship fade over time. Relationships take work to maintain. But just because those butterflies have flown away for now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them back. There are ways how to increase serotonin in your relationship by getting back that “loving feeling”. Take a trip down memory lane to when you first met your partner. Remember how they made you feel when you first saw them. Think about how attracted you were to them and the way it felt when you first touched them. Remembering these feelings could bring the magic back to your relationship. How to increase serotonin in your relationship? Look at your partner with the same amount of attraction you felt for them when you first met. Positive memories and positive thinking, in general, have been shown to elevate mood and possibly serotonin. Simply thinking happy thoughts about your partner may be a way how to increase serotonin levels, while increasing your attraction for them.
How To Increase Serotonin With Diet
Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan, which must be derived from your diet from foods like cheese, nuts, and meat. A deficiency in tryptophan can lead to low serotonin levels that can result in mood disorders like anxiety or depression. Increasing tryptophan through eating tryptophan rich foods may be one way how to increase serotonin levels naturally. Foods with the most amounts of tryptophan include milk, canned tuna, nuts, seeds, and even chocolate. How to increase serotonin in your relationship could be as simple as making nightly dinners full of tryptophan.
How To Increase Serotonin With Exercise
Exercise may be one of the best ways on how to increase serotonin levels naturally. Regular exercise is linked to a variety of health benefits like better mood, fewer health problems, and stronger immunity. Studies show that physical exercise increases serotonin levels and has a positive effect on mood overall. Better yet, these increases can be long-lasting if regular exercise is maintained. If you and your partner are both wondering how to increase serotonin levels together, start working out. Exercise can easily be a group activity. Start training for a race together, enroll in a fitness program, or simply go for walks together. Not only will you be increasing your serotonin together, but you’ll also be spending time bonding with one another. Knowing how to increase serotonin is important for your relationship, but spending time together is even more so.
How To Increase Serotonin With More Sleep
How to increase serotonin naturally? Sleep together more. No, we don’t mean sex. We mean actual sleep. Getting enough sleep is very important for brain function and our overall well-being. It’s thought that serotonin is released during sleep. Therefore if you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t produce enough serotonin. We’re sure you all can agree that when you get a terrible night’s sleep, you feel a little cranky in the morning. How to increase serotonin in your relationship? Make sure you and your partner are getting enough sleep. When you can, sleep together as often as possible. Some studies show that people sleep better when they are sleeping next to someone they love. However, this may not apply to you if your partner is a loud snorer.
How To Increase Serotonin By Being More Social
Humans are social animals, meaning we need people to survive. Not enough social interaction can lead to depression or even social anxiety. Positive social interactions can have a beneficial effect on serotonin levels and mood. The more positive face-to-face social interactions people have, the higher their serotonin levels. However, this can go both ways. Experiencing negative interactions with other people can lower your serotonin levels and put you in a bad mood. It’s important to surround yourself with positive people if you want to know how to increase your serotonin levels. Suggest to your partner that you two go to more social engagements and parties. Though spending time alone with your partner is amazing, it’s important to maintain a social life outside of your relationship. How to increase serotonin in your relationship? Grab your beau and hit the karaoke bar. Getting out of the house and spending time with others is one of the easiest ways how to increase serotonin.
Final Thoughts On How To Increase Serotonin
Love is sometimes difficult to explain. We don’t know what makes us fall for someone and not for others. What we do know is what happens to our brain once we do fall for someone. That “loving feeling” is a result of neurotransmitters in our brain working together to make us feel all mushy inside. The love hormones are biologically programmed to make us feel a certain way so that we will be more inclined to reproduce. But of course, as anyone in love will tell you, love is about so much more than just sex. Love is special and love makes you happy, literally. You can learn how to increase serotonin levels naturally, which may benefit your love life even more. The longer you can keep that “loving feeling” alive, the more successful you will be in your relationship.