Some people say that love brings out the best of us. Other times, it can make us feel like we’re losing our minds.

Consider this experience:

“I thought Mark and I had really hit it off on our first date last night, but he never texted me after saying goodbye. After waiting all morning for him to make the first move, I finally broke down and I texted him at 1 PM. Every minute that passed, I felt more anxious. Even though it was a busy day at work, I could not focus. I was constantly checking my phone to see if he had replied or, at least, read my message. Why does he not text me back? I’m furious. I just sent him another message telling him to not even bother contacting me anymore.”

Let’s break it down.

Despite only knowing each other for one date, this young woman is extremely distressed about Mark’s lack of communication. She becomes so preoccupied that she can no longer focus at work. The anxiety eventually consumes her to the point of anger. Although it’s unclear why Mark hasn’t replied, she lashes out at him, preventing any chance of a future together.

If you’ve ever experienced anything like this, you’re not alone. In fact, many psychologists agree that it’s quite common to lose a sense of reality upon entering into a new relationship.

In her Tedx Talk, Mindful Love: How to Stay Off the Dating Crazy Train, relationship coach, Katie Hoffman, explained how love activates our brain’s addiction chemicals. The result can make us feel out of control of our thoughts and actions.

While it’s normal to feel a little delusional in love, the danger with being ‘crazy’ is when the romantic imagination turns toxic, jealous, or insecure.

Ready to get off the Dating Crazy Train? Here’s how to maintain your sanity while in love.

Addicted to love

Are you crazy in love?

It’s not just Beyonce who agrees. Science also says it’s true.

A few years back, a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers conducted a study to see what makes us act so strange in love.

What they discovered was that the participants who were “in love” showed increased activity in the areas of the brain that create dopamine and norepinephrine. These two feel-good chemicals are responsible for the brain’s energy and racing thoughts.

If you’ve ever stayed up all night replaying all the perfect moments after a romantic date with your sweetheart, that’s the dopamine and norepinephrine working.

To get the full scope of the ups and downs of love, Dr. Fisher also studied participants who were going through a breakup.

The results of the study showed that during rejection, the same parts of the brain that were activated while “in love” were practically burning with fire during a breakup. During romantic rejection, however, those previously feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and norepinephrine took a dark turn.

Instead of endless energy and fantasies, patients reported sleepless nights, obsessive thoughts, and excessive stress and anxiety.

Interestingly enough, both the brains that were in love and heartbroken showed the same areas of activity of someone high on cocaine.

If you’ve ever felt yourself acting out of character while in a relationship, understand that your brain might be playing tricks on you.

Whether you’re feeling crazy in love, or just plain crazy, it might feel impossible to mentally sober up before acting out.

Practice Mindfulness

If you’ve ever attended a yoga class or just eaves-dropped a conversation within a Whole Foods, odds are you’ve heard of the word ‘mindfulness’ before.

Mindfulness, however, is more than just a meaningless, wellness buzzword. The practice of mindfulness is proven to decrease levels of anxiety and stress.

So, what is mindfulness?

Simply put, mindfulness is the gentle awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment at all times.

In relationships, mindfulness is extremely helpful because it forces us to pause, reflect, and assess the reality of a situation before reacting to stressful triggers.

When a romantic partner says or does something that hurts us, mindfulness helps us to break down both their intentions and our feelings about them.

So, the next time you receive a disappointing text message from your partner, take a moment to reflect before reacting.

Ask yourself:

  • What exactly about this is so upsetting?
  • Is it the words they used?
  • How long it took for them to reply?
  • Is there something deeper going on that I am ignoring?

While it might not seem like much, knowing exactly why you’re upset is essential to mental clarity.

Writing down your thoughts within a journal is a great way to practice mindfulness. Try to describe the situation and your feelings with as much accuracy as possible.

Release your feelings on paper without the fear of judgment. You might find that after writing your thoughts down, you can replace the craziness with inner peace.

Talk it out

A common misconception within relationships is that expressing disagreements to your partner is what makes you look crazy. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nothing is more crazy-making than being unable to express something that really upsets you.

When it comes to maintaining your sanity within a relationship, communication is key.

Before going to your partner, take time to process your feelings on your own. Make sure you can properly articulate your thoughts before approaching them to talk.

Try to speak calmly and with respect. Avoid interrupting and insulting your partner, even if they don’t seem to understand at first. Be patient as you explain why you feel the way you feel.

A loving partner will appreciate your ability to express yourself with consideration towards their feelings, despite you being hurt by them.

Hoping off the Crazy Dating Train

When it comes to maintaining your sanity in relationships, a little self-awareness, mindfulness, and communication go a long way.

Remember that, if your partner really cares for you, they would never mean to hurt you. A loving partner wants to understand all of your feelings–the good and the bad. It’s important that you can be vulnerable enough to open up about how you really feel.

When problems arise in dating, take a moment to reflect before you react. While some madness is inevitable (thanks, brain!) a little bit of mindfulness can help.

Before you know it, you’ll have hopped off the dating crazy train once and for all.