Love comes in many forms: the love of a lifelong partner, the love of friends, the love of family – and the love of your fellow humans in general. Love is all about connections, and the ways in which love and health connect might just surprise you.
Love reduces stress.
Many people will say that a relaxing feeling comes over them when they are with the people they love. It turns out that’s more than just a feeling – our vital signs reflect the stress-relieving effect of love. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services showed that, on average, happily married people had lower blood pressure than both unmarried people and unhappily married people. But that certainly doesn’t mean you should rush into marriage – unhappily married people had the highest blood pressure of all.
Love and longevity go hand in hand.
People in long marriages don’t only enjoy an enduring love – they also enjoy longer lives. Through the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, the U.S. Census has been tracking lifespan trends of Americans since 1979. They’ve found that married Americans, on average, live longer than those who are unmarried. When marriages last lifetimes, we can only assume that love was the reason for it.
Love is good for your heart.
Whether it’s with a friend, relative or significant other, hugs are amazing for the heart. When we share an embrace with a loved one, our bodies produce a natural dose of oxytocin, a smile-inducing hormone that is excellent for the heart. It’s a heart-healthy hormone, because it lowers blood pressure, which reduces stress. And study after study has shown that low blood pressure is connected to living a long and healthy life.
So, have you hugged a loved one today?