Love is one of the most complex emotions that humans feel. It’s a complex tying together of many different feelings and can vary from person to person, but it is also one of the most important emotions that we experience. Love is what makes us forgive our partners for their shortcomings, make sacrifices to see a project through and work tirelessly toward the success of our kids or creative projects. It’s the reason we cheer on our sports team or cry when they lose. Love can be euphoric, devastating or everything in between.
It’s no wonder that the concept of love has inspired artists and poets for centuries. Some of the most famous love quotes include “I don’t know what love is, but I know what it doesn’t look like.” and “Love is that tingly feeling you get when you think about someone you care about.”
While researchers have made tremendous strides in understanding love over the past century, the subject has been controversial from its inception. Sigmund Freud’s remarks that “Love is a primary and fundamental psychosexual instinct” were controversial at the time, and his ideas were widely dismissed by psychologists until the 1970s. Then research on love began to explode, and it is now well established that there are at least seven kinds of love – from infatuation to committed intimacy, passion, friendship and more.
When you write about love, you want to capture the emotion with clarity and sensitivity. But it can be hard to find the right words. Some people try to evoke the sense of love with stock phrases, such as “amazing,” “delicious” or “smitten.” You can also compare your feelings for your loved ones to something else that you love, such as a sunrise, refreshing rain or a favorite song.
Scientific research on love has grown rapidly in the past two decades, but it remains difficult to consistently define, compared with other emotions. This is partly because the definition of love varies from person to person and depends on cultural context.
A number of studies have shown that loving behavior is rooted in evolutionary biology. For example, scientists have found that when people are in the throes of romantic love, their brains show increased activity in areas associated with reward and pleasure. These areas are the same brain regions that light up when people are narcotic users.
There is also evidence that loving relationships help people cope with stress and illness. For example, people with chronic illnesses who are in loving relationships with supportive others are more likely to manage their symptoms successfully than those in other kinds of relationships.
The early research on the nature of love was criticized by some senators, including William Proxmire, who called it “a waste of taxpayer dollars.” Today, the scientific community has embraced this research and has found that the various forms of love are connected. Specifically, research has shown that the emotions of affection, compassion and commitment are core components of loving behaviors.