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Why Love is a Neurochemical Roller Coaster

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Love is a cocktail of brain chemicals: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphin. These happy chemicals evolved to promote your genes, not to make you happy all the time. You can manage the roller coaster when you understand the job these chemicals do in the state of nature. More information like this at InnerMammalInstitute.org

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Why Love is a Neurochemical Roller Coaster

  1. 1. Why Love is
 a Neurochemical Roller Coaster Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD Inner Mammal Institute
  2. 2. Love is a cocktail of brain chemicals dopamine serotonin oxytocin endorphin
  3. 3. They release in short spurts Then they droop
  4. 4. That’s why love is a roller coaster
  5. 5. You can manage the ups
 and downs, but you can’t
 have constant ups because…
  6. 6. 
 these chemicals evolved to motivate reproductive success not to create constant happiness
  7. 7. We’ve inherited our brain chemicals from earlier animals
  8. 8. Your brain is designed to promote
 your genes,
 not to make you
 feel good
 all the time
  9. 9. Love is a huge motivator of
 reproductive
 behavior,
 so it triggers
 huge spurts
 of happy
 brain
 chemicals
  10. 10. Disappointment in love feels like a survival threat
 to your mammal brain so you surge with cortisol, the threat chemical
  11. 11. Your ups and downs make sense when you know what turns them on in nature
  12. 12. Dopamine is the great feeling
 that a reward is at hand
  13. 13. Dopamine releases energy for the chase
  14. 14. New love stimulates lots of Dopamine
  15. 15. Dopamine droops once you get the reward until
 you set your sights on another reward
  16. 16. Oxytocin is often called the “love chemical”
  17. 17. Oxytocin is stimulated by touch,
 trust, birth,
 and
 sex
  18. 18. Oxytocin droops when you’re separated from the herd This causes the feeling that your survival is threatened
  19. 19. Serotonin is the pleasure of social dominance
  20. 20. Serotonin is not aggression but a calm sense that “ I will get the banana ”
  21. 21. Serotonin is soon reabsorbed, so we are always looking for ways to stimulate more
  22. 22. When you enjoy the attentions
 of someone important,
 it boosts your Serotonin
  23. 23. Endorphin masks pain so you can do what
 it takes to survive
  24. 24. Endorphin is
 “endogenous morphine” it’s meant for emergencies, not partying
  25. 25. Endorphin is stimulated
 by pain, including exercise, laughing and crying
  26. 26. When lovers make each other laugh it’s a valuable chance to enjoy Endorphin
  27. 27. Natural selection built a brain that makes you feel good when you do things that promote your genes dopamine endorphin oxytocin serotonin
  28. 28. No conscious interest in your genes is necessary
  29. 29. It’s not easy being a mammal
  30. 30. But you can make peace with your inner mammal if you…
  31. 31. 1. Accept 2. Adapt 3. Arrange
  32. 32. 1. Accept • Nothing is wrong with me • My happy chemicals will
 droop sometimes • It doesn’t necessarily
 mean something is wrong • It means I’m a mammal
 among mammals
  33. 33. 2. Adapt I can build new circuits My happy chemicals are controlled by circuits I built long ago But they don’t build easily after puberty
  34. 34. 3. Arrange A new circuit will build if I repeat a new thought or behavior daily for 6 weeks I can arrange my life to feed new experiences to my brain until 
 my happy chemicals flow in new ways
  35. 35. for example
  36. 36. Don’t compare myself to others
  37. 37. Don’t compare myself to others
  38. 38. Don’t compare myself to others
  39. 39. Love will always be a roller coaster
  40. 40. But you can have
 a smoother ride
  41. 41. you can make peace with your inner mammal
  42. 42. Is this information helpful? 
 share it with your favorite groups and professionals; get the free 5-day Happy Chemical Jumpstart; watch the free video:
 Your Ups and Downs Are Natural …and also learned buy a book...and another book; comment on Youtube, Amazon, Goodreads to help others; participate in the Inner Mammal Institute’s
 Facebook discussion group and Twitter; read my blogs, Your Neurochemical Self and thePositivePsychologyPeople; read book excerpts at InnerMammalInstitute.org
  43. 43. my books Habits of a Happy Brain forthcoming November 2015 Meet Your Happy Chemicals Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, Endorphin I, Mammal
 Why Your Brain Links Status and Happiness Beyond Cynical
 Transcend Your Mammalian Negativity
  44. 44. contact me Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org learn more InnerMammalInstitute.org my blog Your Neurochemical Self on PsychologyToday.com
  45. 45. and one more thing
  46. 46. Don’t compare myself to others
  47. 47. Don’t compare myself to others
  48. 48. Don’t compare myself to others
  49. 49. Dopamine Dopamine makes you jump for joy when you reach a goal or get a toy. Innature,ithelpsfindfoodwhenyouneedit. “Eureka, I got it!” A memory gets created. Dopamine causes expectations. Correct predictions bring good sensations. Dopamine feels great so you try to get more. It rewarded our ancestors trudging through gore. Cocaine triggers dopamine. Caution to all: Joy without goal-seeking leads to a fall. Dopamine flows when you feel like “I’ve done it.” Whenothersdoitforyou,yourdopaminewillshunit.
  50. 50. Endorphin Endorphin helps you mask the pain Of injuries that you sustain. Yourancestorsescapedfrompredatorattack ‘Cause endorphinfelt goodwhiletheyranback. Endorphin feels great when it eases your pains. But only real pain makes it flow in your veins. Exercise triggers it, experts alert you. But first you must do it ‘til body parts hurt you. Endorphin receptors let opium in. So you feel like you’re safe without lifting a shin. Laughing and crying can trigger it too. But just for a moment– then the job’s through.
  51. 51. Oxytocin Oxytocin makes you trust your mates. We love the bonds that it creates. Oxytocin flowswhenyoustickwiththeherd. “Not me!” youmaysay,“I’mnobovineorbird.” But without social bonds, your brain feels alarm. This protected our ancestors from all kinds of harm. Though theherdwillannoyyou,thepackhurt you so. When you run with a pack, oxytocin will flow. “My pack is great and the other is nuts.” This thinking prevailed since the first mammal struts. You’re above all this foolishness, obviously. But it feels good when I trust you and you trust me.
  52. 52. Serotonin swells your chest with pride When you get respect and needn’t hide. Yourbrainfeelsgoodwhenyouboostyourselfhigher. But when others do this, it provokes your ire. “I don’t care about status. It’s other who do.” But youspurtserotoninwhenthelimelight’s on you. You are quite modest and don’t like to boast. But no serotonin flows when you coast. Status doesn’t depend on money. You can be clever or helpful or funny. But when others one-up you, your mind agitates. ‘Cause serotonin droops ‘til you lift your own weights. Serotonin

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