Have a “Hearty” Valentine’s Day!
With the day of love around the corner, most people are worried about the issues of the heart. One should toss aside all worries and know this, that rest assured, Valentine’s day is one of the healthiest days of the year- despite the champagne and chocolate! That is because the effect of love on the health of any person is tremendous and has long term benefits.
Love, or the feeling of love, releases a chemical which acts as a mood intensifier, so people feel extremely positive and appreciated. Love leads to an increased ability to cope with stress. Love helps you live longer. A significant effect of love on health is that it miraculously gives you longevity. When in love you have someone to look after you, and you too look after yourself by maintaining a balanced healthy lifestyle. Married couples are found to have lower rates of substance abuse, lower blood pressure and less depression than their single friends.
Let us consider the various kinds of effect of love on health, be it mental or physical:
Love and mental health:
Depression and anxiety are the two most prevalent mental health disorders. Higher rates of depression and anxiety are linked to social isolation, indicating that spending time with others could kill the solitude and reduce the rates of these disorders. Research has shown that getting married also reduce depression in both men and women. Studies show that those who are happier and more satisfied in their relationships show lower levels of depression, anxiety and self-consciousness. Encouraging one another to be involved in loving, supportive relationships could potentially help us to overcome common mental illnesses.
Love and Physical health:
Now that we have established the effect of love on health, especially mental health, let’s explore its effect on physical health. Love, compassion, and joy improve the functioning of our immune system and help us to battle diseases. Supportive relationships have even been shown to improve prognosis in conditions such as cancer by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Strong relationships also improve general health outcomes as much as quitting smoking or drinking do.
Oxytocin aka the “cuddle chemical” is a hormone released even by sheer touch. This chemical reduces aches and pains, increases energy, and enables us to experience life more often on the upbeat.
Love has positive effects on our mental and physical health. It can lead to a better ability to cope with depression and anxiety and even better physical health. For those who are not in love, do not fret. Friendships have also been shown to have a positive effect on your health. All these benefits of a loving relationship make it easy to see why love is important to so many people and why it should be celebrated this time of the year. The effect of love on health is unequivocal, so spread the word around, and help build a stronger, more loving community.