Being as it is Valentine’s Day, talking about love seems to be an appropriate topic. Are there health benefits to these loving relationships? Of course there are and here are just some of the added benefits, it is important to note of course that everyone is different and every relationship is different, but the intensity of the love and the state of the relationship come into place:
- Women in good marriages have much lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those from stressed marriages
- Married people tend to live longer, have fewer heart attacks, lower cancer rates and less pneumonia than singles
- A study found that ovarian cancer patients with a strong sense of connection to others had more ‘natural killer’ cell activity at the site of tumors than those lacking social ties
- Hugging (yes something as simple as a hug) can lower blood pressure and boost oxytocin (relaxing hormone involved in labor, breastfeeding and organism). “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. Men didn’t get the blood pressure benefit from hugging. But don’t feel bad for him: He probably gets the same health gains from steady sex that you do from daily snuggling.
- A study in 2002 found that men who had sex 2 + times a week had half the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
- Study found that being a part of a couple at midlife is linked to a decreased risk of cognitive impairment in old age
- Married people consult doctors less frequently, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to be admitted to nursing homes
- Good news for happy couples children as well. Growing up in married home is connected to better physical health and longevity (I definitely believe this and I believe as I was raised with tremendous examples of marriage- both grandparents 50+ years and my own parents over 30 years- that this has reinforced my own firm stance and belief in love).
- Dehydroepiandosterone has a calming affect on the mind
- Activate the pain sensors so they are better able to control it. The stronger the relationship the greater the effect.
- People who express their feelings of affection to significant relatives, or romantic partners tend to have lower cholesterol (that’s why I go around telling people I love them all the time).
- Tend to have faster healing
- Release of dehydroepiandosterone acts as an anti-aging hormone (feelings of vitality and youth)
Added opinion of the author: For those that truly know me, they realize I’ve been on this path of inspiration the last year and one of the topics I have explored extensively is love. I know that today’s holiday is mostly about romantic love (and I admit this is out of my realm), but love in general is something I have first-hand knowledge of, exploring not only self-love (I’ve never had such a positive and embracive view of myself before), but one-love (where yes it is like it sounds, loving everyone). As I’ve grown in expressing myself and my feelings, expressing my love for others has also grown (my radiating love is kind of a little joke with all my friends and family and I’m sure they’re sick of my persistent letters and texts of I love yous, but its better to have said it then for them to never know, plus its nice to know you’re loved) as well. Love is the stuff of movies and books write, where we all envy the sappy romantic flicks like the Notebook, or the ultimate triumph of love concurring all. It is a powerful force and as I’ve tried to figure it out the harder it gets, because its one of those things that when you try to define or explain it, it loses its magic and power. I can say, though, that in practicing love I do feel this elevated sense of well-being, which I believe is beneficial to my health and outlook on things. Something that has stuck with me since I read it last year comes from someone I consider genius, Elkhart Tolle and The Power of Now:
“Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.”
What can it hurt to extend love today (it doesn’t have to be romantic)? It seems like it could actually benefit you.