Everything seems different when you're in love. As it turns out, that statement is a lot more than just a classic cliché. There's a lot of research that backs it up. Here are seven incredible ways your body changes when you're in love.
1. Heart rate synchronization
Some researchers from the University of California, Davis, got 32 heterosexual couples together and conducted an interesting experiment. First, they had the couples sit close together, facing each other, but without touching. Then, they asked participants to calmly look their significant other in the eyes for three minutes.
While monitoring heart rates, researchers discovered that the hearts of couples in romantic relationships actually start beating together. They synchronize. Incredible, right? Researchers still can't conclusively figure out why this happens.
2. Cuddling: the natural painkiller
Another study shows there's solid evidence that oxytocin (aka the "love hormone") can relieve pain. This is the feel-good hormone that runs through your body when you're snuggling up close to your loved one. So, if you're out of Tylenol, get ride of that headache by snuggling up with your darling and getting that oxytocin pumping.
3. Pupil dilation
It's pretty common knowledge that human eyes dilate in dangerous or high-stress situations to heighten concentration and focus, BUT (are you ready for this?) more research indicates that our pupils dilate when we're especially interested in someone.
Early research ties this dilation to sexual attraction, but further study suggests the pupils may respond to attraction in general. So, the next time you're wondering how someone feels about you, you might want to pay attention to those pupils.
Oh, and if you're wondering, even more research shows that men are attracted to women with larger pupils.
4. Love: the natural sweetener
OK, this one is crazy. Researchers took 197 student volunteers and asked them to write about an experience either involving romantic love, jealously or something neutral. Then the volunteers were given candy and asked to rate the treat based on sweetness, bitterness or sourness.
The results? Participants who wrote about love ranked the candy as sweeter than participants who wrote about jealously or a neutral topic.
But wait, there's more. A similar experiment was then conducted, this time with new volunteers and distilled water instead of candy. They didn't know it was just water. They were told it was simply a new drink product.
Again, participants that wrote about love said the water tasted sweeter.
5. Hysterical strength
You've heard the incredible stories about mothers that suddenly gain seemingly superhuman strength when their child is in danger. Well, it's called hysterical strength, and it's surprisingly under-researched (But understandably so. Who wants to replicate Hunger Games level situations for study?).
What we do know (from others' experience) is that with the right combination of love and fear your body can do incredible things. Hopefully you never have to find out what your love is capable of in these scenarios.
6. Pictures ease pain
This finding involved 15 participants who all professed to be in love. Researchers took each participant and put a heated probe in their hand. Then, participants looked at either a picture of their beloved or just an acquaintance.
The results? Those who were looking at the picture of a loved one experienced relief of intense pain by about 10 to 15 percent. Compared to those looking at an acquaintance, moderate pain was relieved by about 40 percent.
So, if your loved one isn't around for a cuddle session, try going through their profile pics on Facebook.
7. Bones get stronger
A UCLA study shows that men who are 25 years or older who marry a supportive spouse have stronger bones. Researchers also found that men in a stable relationship (not yet married) have stronger bones than men whose marriages failed.
While no correlation between bone health and women's marriages were found, research did conclude that women in relationships with supportive partners did have stronger bones than women dating unappreciative partners.
Weird, right? Science has yet to tell us why this is a thing, but I'm sure more research is to come. I can feel it in my bones.