How Does Having A Crush Affect You? Science Says It Can Make You Crave This One Thing
When was the last time someone gave you butterflies? You know, that swarming in your stomach, tingles down your spine, goosebumps up your arm type of feeling? Having a crush can do all sorts of silly things to your body, but did you know puppy love can also affect your brain? Forget the rosy filter you suddenly see the world through when you’re in lust; that’s not even the half of it. New research just explained how having a crush can affect you and your behavior — specifically, your food shopping habits, but I'll dive into that in a bit — and my mind is blown.
In the words of the late rapper Mac Miller, growing up I wasn’t a player, but I did crush a lot. Just ask my mom — hell, flip through my old diary, and you'll see everything you need to know. Up until my first real SO, I tried on different love interests like pairs of jeans. They may not have all worked out, but I was always daydreaming about someone. What can I say? I love love.
What I don’t love, though, is spending a ton of money on a whim; I’d rather save my pennies for when I really need them. But according to new research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the more you crush, the more appealing it may be to shop, which basically means you're putting your heart on the line of credit.
According to a EurekAlert! Science News press release, researchers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore found that having a crush can inspire a need for more variety in a person’s life. The idea here seems to be that, when you’re romantically interested in another person, you pretty much have zero control over whether or not that person feels the same way about you. And because crushes can evoke such intense uncertainty — cue mumbles of “they love me, they love me not” — retail therapy can instill a comforting sense of control. In other words, you may not be able to know or control what’s in another human being’s heart, but you can control what goes into your shopping cart.
For the study, as per the EurekAlert! Science News press release, the researchers performed a series of experiments, the first of which required participants to choose between a variety pack of yogurt, and a pack of yogurt that contained only one flavor. Following their decision, the participants were then asked a series of basic demographic and lifestyle questions, and the results showed that those who were crushing were more inclined to choose the variety pack. Coincidence? Science thinks not.
In another experiment for the study, the press release explains, participants were assigned one of two writing prompts: “I Am Having A Crush On Somebody” and “My Typical Day.” After they’d written their pieces, the participants were offered five flavors of chewy candy, and the researchers found that those who wrote romantic stories took more of a variety of the candies compared to those who wrote about their day.
Similarly, for a third experiment, the study's press release says that the researchers wanted to compare the behavior of someone in a romantic relationship — in which the feelings are mutual — and the behavior of someone who only recently developed feelings for another person. Participants were first asked to write about one of these two scenarios, and after handing in their assignments, they were then asked to choose one snack per week for a total of six weeks. Not surprisingly, those who'd written about the beginning stages of a crush chose more of a variety of snacks, according to the press release.
OK, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely seeing a pattern between crushes, and wanting a variety of food. So, do crushes make you hungry? I mean, probably not, but what’s kind of ironic about this study is that, according to clinical sexologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., having a crush on someone can actually make you lose your appetite. “Lovesickness may actually be the stress hormone cortisol contracting the blood vessels in your stomach, making you feel sick," she told CNN. So even though salty tortilla chips, chunky salsa, and 100 percent dark chocolate might sound like an appetizing combination when you’re dropping the items into your basket, once you sit down on the couch and start thinking about that special someone, the uneasiness in your stomach might actually persuade you otherwise.
But aside from the strange effects that crushing on someone can have on your spending habits and appetite, Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, tells Elite Daily that these romantic feelings can have a really positive impact on your mood and work ethic. According to Glatter, because having a crush on someone triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin — aka the feel-good neurotransmitters that produce a feeling of happiness and fulfillment, he explains — the beginning stages of love can make you feel good mentally, and may even act as a form of self-motivation. “Whether it be related to work, academics, or even your workouts,” Glatter says, “[the self-motivation you feel when you’re experiencing a crush] can help you to focus your energy to complete a given task.”
However, the effects that an innocent crush can have on on you aren’t always so heartwarming and positive. According to Clarissa Silva, a behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of the Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, having a crush can trigger a lot of anxiety, and it might even cause you to behave in a way that's unlike your true self in order to impress the other person, depending on your personality. “Ironically, your crush can alter aspects of your personality,” Silva tells Elite Daily. “You may want to impress them more than others, so you will be more chatty with your crush as an introvert. As an extrovert, you may want to take more risks than usual to gain your crush's attention.”
The things we do for love, amirite?