Valentine’s Day card, kisses and chocolates are sweet, but is there more to it than just a feeling? Interestingly, there is a link between love and your health & wellness. There actually is real science backing up those feelings of love and romance. Spending time together with the person you love can benefit your health in several substantial ways.
Here are a few different ways that being in love can improve your health:
- According to one study, being with your spouse can lower your blood pressure. Even if the relationship is troubled, blood pressure still decreased when the couple is together.
- Affection can bolster your immune system and keep you away from colds and flu. In one study, couples who fought in a hostile way showed a significant drop in the strength of their immune systems.
- When a couple holds hands, the pain level experienced by one spouse can be reduced. There is a definite correlation between touch and empathy and its positive impact on painful physical conditions.
- Oxytocin is nicknamed “the love hormone” because it increases bonding between a couple, increasing feelings of trust, intimacy and a sense of well-being. In addition, it can calm the digestive system.
- Don’t be quick to beg off because of a headache. Studies show improved migraines and headaches may be a benefit of physical intimacy.
- For men, physical intimacy can reduce risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.
Don’t have a significant other? Not a problem.
If you’re one of the 62% of Americans who have never been married, there is one simple answer to adding more affection to your life: adopt a dog. There is some evidence that suggests that people who own dogs tend to be healthier and live longer. Dog owners can have a lower risk for heart disease. They also may experience less depression and get more exercise.
Or skip the pet. Try some self-love.
If a dog is out of the question, there’s still something you can do to enjoy better health. Go easy on yourself. When times get tough, give yourself some space to breathe and watch out for negative self-talk. Research is showing that self-criticism is much less powerful in helping you make changes than being kind to yourself. Practicing self-compassion is a form of caring for yourself that can contribute to a healthier diet, more frequent exercise, reducing stress and getting enough sleep. These positive improvements can lead to a healthier life.
Does love conquer all?
Love may not conquer every healthcare concern that you experience, but it can be effective on some levels in helping to reduce pain and improve quality of life. Having affection in your life can help with preventive measures to reduce risks of disease and illness. These are the hidden benefits of Valentine’s Day that may last longer than the chocolates and roses.
However, sometimes love is not enough. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself challenged with health conditions that require additional consultation and potential surgery. For more information on treating existing conditions, contact the board-certified specialists at North Texas Team Care Surgery (NTTC) at 972-528-6090.