Feb 15 2015

Discovering the Health Benefits of Love

Published by at 12:30 pm under General,Personal Care

All you need is love…Love is all you need

We all know the famous song sung so beautifully by the Beatles. It is wonderful to be in love and to have precious love in your life whether it be in the form of romance, marriage, family love, friendships, children or even pets. The important thing is to find somebody with whom to give and receive love. And it is not just because you want to have someone to give a Valentine to. Researchers have shown that love is a contributing factor to better health. As human beings, we are designed to live in closely knit social groups. When we lack that in our lives, our biology gets thrown off.1

And it is not the crazy romance kind of love that necessarily keeps our health on track, though that kind of love can do wonders for our energy level, mood and sudden pride in appearance. But with that kind of love can also come stress, uncertainty and roller coaster emotions.  It appears to be the more calm, stable, consistent form of love that results in clear long term health benefits.

According to Harry Reis, PhD, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships, “…There is very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures…”2

Marriage was at the center of most of the research in this area  but it appears that many of the perks extend to other close relationships with a partner, parent, or friend. The key is to “feel connected to other people, feel respected and valued by other people, and feel a sense of belonging,” he says….”  He lists 10 research-backed ways that love and health are linked:

  • Fewer Doctor’s Visits
  • Less depression and Substance Abuse
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less anxiety
  • Natural Pain Control
  • Better stress management
  • Fewer colds
  • Faster Healing
  • Longer Life
  • Happier Life2

According to Prevention.com, the “…benefits of love are explicit and measurable:..”1

“…Doctors at the University of North Carolina have found that hugging may dramatically lower blood pressure and boost blood levels of oxytocin, a relaxing hormone…”1

And more hugging showed better results. “…Women who hugged the most daily had the highest oxytocin levels, and their systolic blood pressure that was 10 mm/Hg lower than women with low oxytocin levels—an improvement similar to the effect of many leading blood pressure medications, says Kathleen Light, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at UNC and one of the study’s authors. “Getting more daily hugs from their husbands was related to higher oxytocin, and so the hugs were indirectly related to lower blood pressure,” she says…”1

So nurture those close loving relationships in your life, whether it is your spouse, family or friends. Take time to show and tell people you love them. Show kindness, give gifts. Do things together that are challenging and exciting to create memories. Celebrate each other’s successes. And very importantly, if you have depression or anxiety, seek treatment, as that can be very damaging to your relationships.

We don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day to show and extend love…but it certainly is a good reminder!

Love and healthiest wishes to you all!

Kelli

 

References:

  1. http://www.prevention.com/sex/sex-relationships/how-love-keeps-you-healthy
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=97679

 

 

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