3 Surprising Ways The Brain Controls How (And Who) You Love

Photo: Maksym Azovtsev / Shutterstock
couple kissing

The brain is such a powerful organ because, just like the below meme says, it almost never stops working while you are alive, and while it is working, it is having a huge effect on how you feel love. When people talk about the brain and the heart, they tend to pin them against each other.

The brain is supposed to be this logical organ and the heart is supposed to be all about emotion and love.

It turns out that the brain contains many of your emotions in ways you might not have known about. 

Here are in fact 3 surprising ways it controls your emotions.

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1. The thin line between love in hate lies within the brain:

The common saying actually has some weight to it! A study at University College London found that the brain's "love" and "hate" circuits have identical structures.

Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled, and eradicated. Yet to the biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love," said Professor Semir Zeki, who carried out the brain scan study.

"Like love, it is often seemingly irrational and can lead individuals to heroic and evil deeds. How can two opposite sentiments lead to the same behavior?"

Both emotions include regions such as the putamen and insula and those are linked to aggression and distress.

So the next time you fly off the handle in an argument with your partner, remember it's because this saying is true.

2. Love physically hurts thanks to your brain:

"Love hurts" isn't just a beautiful lyric, it's reality. There is also a reason why some old couples die within months of each other.

Neuroimaging studies have found that regions that process physical pain are tied to social anguish.

This emotional and physical pain can be eased with bodily painkillers.

Perhaps Tylenol should start claiming to ease "heartbreak" pain as well.

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3. The brain also uses love as a pain reliever.

Stanford University School of Medicine found that intense feelings of love can actually alleviate pain and can be just as powerful as illicit drugs.

So it turns out that anything you are feeling gets intensified by your brain. 

"When people are in this passionate, all-consuming phase of love, there are significant alterations in their mood that are impacting their experience of pain," said Sean Mackey, MD, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pain Management, associate professor of anesthesia and senior author of the study. 

"We're beginning to tease apart some of these reward systems in the brain and how they influence pain. These are very deep, old systems in our brain that involve dopamine — a primary neurotransmitter that influences mood, reward, and motivation."

Hope you enjoyed these facts about the brain on love! 

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Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer. Follow her on Twitter.