No single human emotion has received as much attention, inspired so many actions or brought so much wonder and joy to our lives. In short, love is happiness.
Love makes the world go around, keeps us together and may even be responsible for some incredible benefits to your body as well. Not only lowered blood pressure and better stress management but fewer colds and shorter hospital stays.
Can it be true? It can, and there’s hard and fast science to back it up.
1) Married people make fewer visits to the doctor, and have shorter hospital stays than singles, this according to a review of studies by the Health and Human Services Department summarized in a June 2007 report.
2) Getting and staying married reduces depression in both men and women. Marriage also contributes to a decline in heavy drinking and drug abuse. This finding also comes from the June 2007 Health and Human Services Department report.
3) Happily married people had the best blood pressure readings, followed by singles. Unhappily married, as you might imagine, had the highest blood pressure according to a study appearing in the March 2008 Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
4) Loving, stable relationships provoke less activation of areas in the brain known to produce anxiety. Researchers at the University of New York at Stony Brook used functional MRI scans to evaluate areas of the brain and presented these findings at the 2008 Society for Neuroscience conference.
5) Loving, stable relationships make you less likely to complain of headaches or back pain. This too comes from the Stony Brook research, but holds even more weight because of a supportive CDC report on a study of more than 127,000 adults.
6) Social support, including loving relationships helps with stress management, making stressors easier to face.
7) Loving relationships can give the immune system a boost, making you less likely to get sick after exposure to a cold or flu virus. This according to research at Carnegie Melon University published in the November 2006 Psychosomatic Medicine.
8) The power of a positive relationship might help wounds heal as much as twice as fast as those of couples who are most hostile with each other. This comes from work in December 2005 out of Ohio State University Medical Center.
9) Married people live longer according to an ever-increasing body of work on the topic. Data from the National Health Interview Survey found those who’d never been married were 58% more likely to die younger than those who were married.
10) Love is more important that money. Research has shown that while happiness might come from income to a point, in the end it’s the quality of family relationships that brings lasting satisfaction. This bit of wisdom is based on work appearing in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Family Psychology and relies on data that tracked married couples for more than a decade.
“There is very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures,” reports Harry Reis, PhD, the co editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships.
A key distinction is the love we’re talking about here isn’t the intense, passionate, can’t-live-without-you type of relationship but rather a calmer, enduring more stable form of love. Let’s face it, while the other type might be exciting and vital for a while it’s almost impossible to maintain.
Reis also points out that while many of the studies referenced here focused on married couples, it is the quality of the relationship, whether traditional marriage or deep love for a partner, parent or friend that delivers benefits to your overall health.
Love is happiness as any relationship that brings a feeling of being connected to another person, one where you feel respected and valued for yourself can bring not only good feelings and a sense of belonging, but better health as well.
Next just head on over to the Daily Health Bulletin for more health tips including why love is happiness and get 5 free revealing health reports.