It’s the third period, which means time for Chemistry. You pack up your books and head over to the Chemisty lab for lessons in Stoichiometry. But before acids will be mixed with bases; before the average titre value, and the number of moles of salt formed is calculated; something even more chemical happens to you.
You catch sight of your crush, and your heart solution changes colour. Your heart starts to beat faster – so fast, you fear it could beat right out of your chest! Your palms get sweaty, and for a moment in time, you lose your bearings. Thank God no one can see your insides! “Just what is happening to me?” you wonder. Why is my system so out of sorts? Could there possibly be a rational explanation for this?
Dear human-in-crush, there is a rational and very scientific explanation for this. Part of the whole attraction process is strongly linked to your physiology. Typically, that’s going to start with things like increased heart rate, sweatiness and so on. When you catch sight of your beloved and your heart starts racing, that’s because of an adrenaline rush.
Here’s how it works: The brain sends signals to the adrenal gland, which secretes hormones such as adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. They flow through the blood and cause the heart to beat faster and stronger. The response is somewhat similar to a fast heartbeat while running. It is also likely that norepinephrine, a stress hormone that governs attention makes you feel weak in the knees.
And for people with serious heart problems, love could actually be dangerous. That’s because when the heart rate goes up, the heart uses more oxygen, which can be risky for persons with blood vessel blockages, or who have had a previous heart attack.
In conclusion, these hormones are stress hormones which your body provides for fight or flight responses. It’s your body’s way of letting you know it is aware of what you are feeling (a result of the emotional centre of the brain – the amygdala – receiving and processing emotional signals faster than the cognitive part of the brain – the prefrontal cortex).
Hence, the provision of these hormones is to help you deal with the situation successfully, until the other part of the brain – your prefrontal cortex – can figure out exactly what is happening. And like all things having to do with the emotions, it’s not so much the flood of hormones raging through your body, but how you use them to your advantage.
One way is to regain control of the situation by reminding yourself that your crush is all flesh and blood, hence imperfect, and not an angel! This will help you see the reality of things as they stand, and bring your head down from high up in the clouds as you manage the situation like a pro.
Now, back to Chemistry class where the cognitive part of your brain is ready to do some serious work.