Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to consider love and relationships, and how it benefits us. You may be surprised to learn how much relationships can actually add to your Health and wellbeing!
Love and health are intertwined in surprising ways. Humans are wired for connection, and when we cultivate good relationships, the rewards are immense. But we’re not necessarily talking just about spine-tingling romance, the perks extend to other close relationships, for example, 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.
Science proves that love really is a boon to your well-being.
Here are some of Love’s health benefits (please note when referring to marriage the same could apply for very close partnerships/friendships):
Marriage dramatically lowers the risk of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks in both men and women of all ages.
For men, a happy marriage is a buffer against stroke. An Israeli study shows that single guys face a 64% greater risk of fatal stroke than married males do—but only if the unions are sound and supportive.
A strong partnership can reduce cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. In an experiment at the University of Chicago, strongly connected people handled stress better than their single peers did.
Want to stay healthy as you get older? Try improving your love life. In a 2013 study, happily married participants reported better health.
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Another study shows that the happily married have lower blood pressure than their single counterparts, even those with strong social networks. But unhappily married folks fare the worst of all.
It’s a fact: Married people live longer than their unwedded counterparts. According to the National Health Interview Survey, singletons face a 58% higher risk of mortality in any given year.
Carnegie Mellon researchers have proven that happy, calm people fend off colds and flu’s more readily than anxious or depressed ones.
When scientists inflicted small blister wounds on couples, the injuries healed almost twice as quickly when the partners interacted with warmth. Arguments and hostility caused a full day’s delay in healing.
MRI brain scans reveal the rewards of love. The gray matter that governs anxiety is calmer when you’re in a long-term love match.
80% of your immune system (and the vast majority of your body’s microbes) reside in your gut. The feeling of love can help to nurture and support your life-enhancing gut microbiome and fight off harmful bacteria that can make you feel under the weather.
Love doesn’t hurt after all. Scientists have proven that people consumed with love just don’t have time for the pain. When focused on an image of their beloved, their brains manage discomfort better.
Matrimony also buffers against depression, in both the short-term and the long. Researchers have documented a happiness dividend in the year after marriage, and it persists over the years.
Single right now? Fear not. Scientists have also shown that a strong network of friends, family, neighbors and other important connections boost the odds of a long, healthy life by 50%.
So, if you are looking to lead a healthier life and reap the mental, emotional and physical benefits that healthy relationships can lead to, it’s important to cultivate those relationships in your life that make you feel secure and supported, whether they are romantic or not.
Happy Valentine’s Day, stay healthy!