Being head-over-heels changes you.
Being in love makes us all walk around like giant goofballs. We’re smiling for no reason. We’re asking people how their days are just so they’ll ask us back, and we can sigh and say things have never been better. Love makes us wake up in the morning and want to get out of bed, say hello to the brutal morning, and be the greatest version of ourselves.
But as great as it makes it, it also makes us crazy.
It makes us pick up the phone and call someone 67 times on repeat until they answer and stop ignoring you (guilty), or say “I’m sorry” and “I love you” more times than you’d like. It makes us change our hair colors, how we occupy our free time and, if anything, it changes our personalities.
This isn’t something I’ve learned by observing the people around me — most of whom are engaged or married — or even observing myself. Sometimes, when I find myself all googly-eyed over a guy that makes my heart rise and fall, it’s become a fact.
How love changes you, as well as the effects of love on the brain, have been the center of attention in a lot of studies.
And this research shows the tremendous impact love has on all of us.
1. You’re a combination of happy and anxious.
You may ask how it’s possible to feel happy and anxious at the same time. But when it comes to being in love, any and all feelings at once is very possible.
According to one study, a person can feel happy when they’re in love, but they can also feel anxious. Isn’t that something?
2. You’re addicted.
If you’ve ever categorized love as an addiction you just can’t kick, according to researchers, you may just be correct. It releases a feel-good chemical, similar to another other addiction that creeps into our lives.
3. You’re capable of taking more risks.
No matter if the person you love is two doors down or two countries away, the “addiction” we feel because of love makes us more driven to take risks in order to get to that person. Now you know the meaning of “I would do anything for love.”
4. You’re overprotective.
A study from Florida State University found that love can make a person overprotective of his or her partner. You want your partner to always be safe and sound, so this makes complete sense.
5. You can’t focus.
If your mind begins to dance around in circles and even focusing on something ordinary makes you crazy, blame it on love. Being in love interferes with your brain’s ability to stay on task, according to a study from the University of Maryland.
6. You’re confident.
To put it more simply: Love helps us to tackle life with more confidence, instead of seeing things pessimistically straight away.
7. If you’re neurotic, you become stabilized.
A study published in the Journal of Personality assessed how love has long lasting effects on personality. They discovered that negative thinking can be unlearned.
After studying people considered to be neurotic, depressed or anxious, researchers discovered that they become more stable in a loving relationship.
8. You don’t judge.
Ever wonder why your guy is so supportive of everything from your career choices to how you handle a disagreement with a friend?
Brain scans show that when someone is shown a photo of the person they adore, the part of the brain responsible for judgement, the frontal cortex, shuts down and they suspend all criticism or doubt.
9. You’re smarter.
Your brain on love is an intelligent one. Being head over heels triggers the brain’s dopamine center, which boosts cognitive and motor skills.
In one study, subjects stared at a computer as names flashed across the screen quickly, and when the name of their significant other appeared, their ability to perform difficult tasks improved drastically.
Jen Glantz is the author of All My Friends Are Engaged, a book of dating disaster stories. She’s the heart behind the website The Things I Learned From.
Michelle Toglia is the sex and relationships Editor at Bustle.