Love – a word that resonates with all of us, inspiring poets, artists, and philosophers for centuries. Beyond its romanticized depictions in literature and film, what is the true purpose of Love? And more importantly, what do we as individuals gain from experiencing this universal, complex emotion? Love, a universal experience transcending cultures and time, extends beyond mere attraction or attachment. Fredrickson, B.L. (2016) suggests that Love, in its many forms, serves a profound purpose in our lives, enriching our physical, emotional, and mental well-being in ways we are only beginning to understand. 

 At its core, Love is a fundamental human need. From the moment we are born, our brains are wired to seek connection and belonging Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005). Studies have shown that experiencing Love – whether through romantic relationships, friendships, or familial bonds releases a cascade of feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine Xu et al. (2012). Making us feel happier and contributing to improved overall health. For instance, Love activates reward and motivation pathways in the brain while downregulating negative emotions, stress responses, and critical social assessment. Which plays an important role in promoting well-being, social bonding, and positive behaviors essential for survival and reproduction Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005).

The different phases of Love, for example, falling in Love and long-lasting relationships, exhibit distinct neurobiological features, but all share common signaling pathways (Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. 2005). For example, early life experiences significantly shape social behaviors and physiology, with oxytocin and vasopressin, known as the ‘love hormones, ‘playing key roles in this programming. Carter, C. S. (2022). These studies emphasize that oxytocin, often associated with feelings of trust and bonding, is released during intimacy and connection, while vasopressin, linked to territorial and protective behaviors, is more prevalent in long-term relationships. Thus, understanding the interplay between oxytocin, vasopressin, early life experiences, and social behaviors is crucial to comprehend the role of these molecules in programming physiological and behavioral responses.


 So, what do we gain from Love? Love, a force that can transform lives, offers us a sense of connection, purpose, and belonging in a world that often feels divided and chaotic. It heals our wounds, fuels our passions, and inspires us to become the best versions of ourselves, igniting a spark of motivation and inspiration within us.

Carter, C. S. (2022). Sex, love and oxytocin: Two metaphors and a molecule. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews143, 104948.

Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005). The neurobiology of love. Neuroendocrinology Letters26(3), 175-192.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2016). Love: Positivity resonance as a fresh, evidence-based perspective on an age-old topic. In L. F. Barrett, M. Lewis, & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of Emotions, 4th Edition. (847-858). New York: Guilford Press

Xu, X., Brown, L., Aron, A., Cao, G., Feng, T., Acevedo, B., & Weng, X. (2012). Regional brain activity during early-stage intense romantic love predicted relationship outcomes after 40 months: An fMRI assessment. Neuroscience Letters, 526, 33-38

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