How Love Affects your Health and Wellbeing
Loving relationships can have a surprising effect on your physical, mental and spiritual health.
It’s no secret that being in love, or sharing loving relationships with family and friends, makes you feel more connected, less lonely and generally happy. And – it’s not all in your head. Love and affection actually do have lasting effects on your physical and mental health and wellbeing, according to a growing body of scientific research. So, before you write off your next little crush, remember the benefits being in love could have:
It decreases stress and lowers blood pressure.
You know that fuzzy feeling you get when cuddling up close to someone you really care about? That’s officially a hormone called Oxytocin, which is released through touching a person (or even animal) that we care about. Oxytocin is so magical, in fact, that it physically lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, and even boosts your immunity. And, have any aches and pains? Yip, Oxytocin can help with that too.
It helps your problem-solving ability
Life is full of difficult decisions, and the ability to rationally and systematically problem solve is a wellness skill we have to cultivate. Our connections to others can help. When we are close to other people, we learn to improve our communication skills and listen to others, which sharpens our emotional intelligence and aids in our intellectual health.
It physically, really makes us happier
It’s no wonder that you feel highly energised and giddy when you first fall in love, or make a new friend; your body is also releasing dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical that acts as a mood intensifier that makes you feel positive and appreciated! It also can increase the stress hormone cortisol at first – which explains why we feel passion mixed with nervousness.
It lowers feelings of depression
Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental health challenges, and they are often linked to a feeling of isolation. Close, loving relationships can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety long term. In fact, one report from the Health and Human Services said that getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women. But it’s not just romantic relationships that can help beat depression; friendships and family time play a role too!
It makes us live longer
It might sound too good to be true, but relationships can even make us live longer. How? For one, those close to us often make sure we go the doctor when we’re concerned about something, leading to timely diagnosis, and they hold us accountable for living a healthy life. High levels of social support can also improve prognosis conditions like cancer by reducing the anxiety and depression that often comes with the illness.
It makes us more mindful
You might not even realise it, but your close relationships with lovers, friends and family are actually making you practice being mindful. Long-term relationships require forgiveness, patience and acceptance and in order to do that, you need to learn gratitude and appreciation. Essentially, this is what being mindful is – the practice of noticing, and being thankful for, the small things, which makes us happier and calmer. According to studies, gratitude also contributes to neuroplasticity; our brain’s ability to make changes in response to our experiences.