Happy Valentine's Day!
Today is the day of love, chocolates, and candy hearts. People all across the world will celebrate their feelings for each other and revel in companionship. We all know that love makes us feel good, but we thought that, in the spirit of the holiday, we would take things a step farther and pose an interesting question: can love affect your health?
Can love make you live longer?
Scientists are discovering that our socials bonds whether romantic or platonic (such as friends, family and neighbors) can have a profound effect on our overall health. These bonds have an effect on our health in a simple way: research suggests that strong social ties are linked with a longer life.
The exact opposite is true of weak social ties and the state of loneliness and depression. These issues have been shown to shorten our lifespan.
Looking to expand your social network? (And no, we don't mean Facebook! Though you can add us here.) Some ideas could include:
Join a group focused on a favorite hobby
Join a local community volunteer group
Volunteer at a school, library, hospital, or your place of worship
Take a class in yoga, tai chi, or another new physical activity
How does love affect biology?
Researchers have shown that a wide variety of social relationships contribute to reduced heart-related risks and reduced stress. These alone might aid in your ability to boost your immune system to fight off germs!
To explore this idea, an experiment was performed where a group of 200 healthy volunteers were exposed to the cold virus. The scientists performing the experiment found that those with more diverse social networks were able to better fight off the cold virus than those without.
Research has also shown that physical connection such as holding hands (as lovebirds do!) can trigger the release of hormones which have these added biological benefits. Plus they make us feel great and have a more positive outlook on life!
How does marriage affect our health?
Marriage has also been extensively research in how it relates to our health. Researchers have found that healthy marriages tend to lead to longer lives and have better heart health (these heart health benefits eve increase as we age). Marriage also has a tendency to affect how we lead our lives: when one person in a marriage makes healthy changes to their lifestyle, the other tends to follow suit.
Marriages with more troubles and conflict had the opposite. In fact, having a high-conflict marriage has even been shown to reduce the body's ability to burn calories!
Love includes our furry friends too
In the United States, a whopping 68 percent of us own pets of some kind, and they also have the power to affect our health.
Interacting with our animals has been proven to reduce cortisol levels, which lowers your stress. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure as well.
As with romantic partners, pets can have positive effects on our behavior as well. One example is that of dog walking: the mere concept of owning a dog might help you to get more exercise via the necessity to walk your dog daily.
Spread the love
What more could we ask for? Love has the ability to lengthen our life, help our hearts, and help us fight off germs!
Take a moment today to spread the love. Happy Valentine's Day!
Sunshine Home Care provides home health in Altus, OK and most of Western Oklahoma. For more information on our agency, visit here or contact us today.