Falling in love is probably one of the most exhilarating human emotions someone can experience, and Valentine’s Day is about celebrating this feeling of romance as well as the relationship between you and your partner. But with a better understanding of the biology and chemistry of love, science has begun to recognise that there are actually health benefits to being in love as well. This includes all love–from family to friends to pets. So whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or opting for Single Awareness, here are six reasons why you should be celebrating any love in your life…
Love strengthens your mental health
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders worldwide. Higher rates of depression and anxiety are linked to social isolation, meaning that spending time with others can actually reduce the rates of these disorders. Research has even shown that getting married and staying married can reduce depression. But it’s not only intimate relationships that count–it’s loving and supportive relationships in general. This is because our nervous systems are affected by those closest to us and synchronises with them in a way that has profound implications for personality and lifelong emotional health.
Love is great for cardiovascular health
Does your heart beat faster when you are around the person you love? That feeling of excitement and happiness may do more than just make you feel good (or nervous), it may actually be good for your heart health. If you’re in love, your blood pressure responds to calmness and peace, meaning that your blood pressure is actually lowered. Also, when it comes to recovering from cardiac bypass surgery, researchers have found that pet ownership helps people survive longer after the procedure and aid in recovery, and suspect that it’s because of the unconditional love that pets give you.
Love promotes good memory
One of the feel-good effects of love is that it releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Among many other effects, dopamine generally makes us feel pleasure, which is why researchers have found that people in early stages of romantic relationships experience a flood of dopamines to specific parts of their brains. But the brain actually needs dopamine to be released too, in order to store long-term memories. As it turns out, the same people who release higher amounts of dopamine perform better on memory tasks than those who don’t get a dopamine boost–so get love-drunk if you want better memory.
Love counteracts stress
Dopamine isn’t just good for memory, it’s also makes you more focused, energised and optimistic. So all things combined, it seems the power of love can also provide stress relief, because all those aspects can be used to counter stress. In general, supportive relationships provide an outlet for discussing your worries with, meaning that you won’t have to shoulder every burden on your own. This is particularly the case in long-term relationships, when people tend to have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Love makes you more creative
Love has inspired so many works of art, from Romeo and Juliet to Queen’s Love of My Life. Psychologists believe that being in love makes you think differently, altering our thoughts and changing our emotional tendencies. The term “global thinking” refers to just this; how our brains turn on creative and analytical thinking rather than “local processing”. It’s usually attributed to the fact that those in love consider long-term goals with a prolonged attachment to their partners, so if you’re in love, you could be creating the masterpiece of the century.
Love could make you live longer
By now it’s old news that married people live longer than their unmarried peers, partly due to the five reasons we’ve covered so far. In general, a partner can encourage you to move more, watch what you eat and see a health professional regularly. A key ingredient to reap in the health benefits of marriage seems to be the happiness of the relationship itself. It’s especially in older age when happiness is linked to a longer life, according to a study at University College London. In that case, remember that it’s not just marriage or romance that’s capable of extending your life–it’s about surrounding yourself with loving people, those that can make you happy.
Be sure to contact a medical professional for advice on your health and wellbeing. With the Qured app, you can see a doctor at a time and location of your choice. Download the app here -> onelink.to/jtygac.