Dopamine is like cocaine. Are you high?
Our bodies are like thermometers — they tell us the temperature of our relationships. Our body chemistry is constantly speaking to us, informing us, supplying brain data that we process in milliseconds. It is dangerous, however, to let our bodies do our thinking. That's what our brain is for, and no other part of us can do it better.
For example, the hormone dopamine released during the initial "in-love" phases of a relationship is so powerful, it actually reproduces the effects of cocaine in the body. Jitters, the rush of energy, the hyper focus on everything related to this one person ... this is what dopamine does.
This does not happen only during the puppy-love stages of romantic relationships. Married, heterosexual women also swim in the hormones of their monthly cycles. If a woman finds her spouse sexy, this perception will be intensified during ovulation. The opposite is also true: if he's not her cup of tea, she might as well move out for the next five days.
The Atlantic wrote about additional research that says men, along with women, experience the rush of hormones, such as vasopressin and oxytocin, which are released right after sex. These "love hormones" promote social skills, conformity with others, and attachment. It's what makes you "cuddle" right after orgasm.
Left alone, humans would run on hormonal instincts like the rest of the animal world. We would only act according to what we feel. However, we have what is called metacognitive skills: the ability to reflect and mediate on our thoughts and feelings. We truly are above our animal instincts. This is what makes us human. Here are three ways to nurture your humanity:
1. Know your cycles. Pay attention to your body's reactions and cycles. Are you a morning person? Are there certain foods that cause certain reactions? Are you really sensitive to aphrodisiacs?
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