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Love as Medicine? How Love Affects Our Health

Love as Medicine? How Love Affects Our Health

Love is in the air! All you need is love! Our ability to create strong bonds makes our lives more complex, complete, and vibrant relationships are also necessary for our health and overall well-being! There are physical and emotional reactions to love that we can feel (butterflies, dilated pupils, sweaty palms, loss of words, etc.), and there is a genuine science behind the side effects! Below, find out how love affects your health—you may want to start stoking all of your relationships for a super-charged health boost!

Love = Happiness (and Anxiety?)

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, love is affecting our brains on a very chemical level! Dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, is released when we're attracted to another person. This attraction manifests as a mood booster so you may feel more positive and slightly invincible. In addition, this hormone is associated with a “reward” response, so it's hard not to feel good when dopamine is in the mix!

Along with dopamine, those in the throes of new love or a blossoming friendship also experience a spike in the stress hormone cortisol. This increase has the potential to lead to erratic behavior as a result of anxiety or nervousness; however, as the relationship evolves, typically, cortisol levels decrease back to normal. A rise in cortisol explains why we might get nervous before a date or meeting our new partner's family for the first time—again, not to worry, this feeling subsides as you grow to feel more stable in your relationship.

Love Invites You to Take Better Care of Yourself

Simply put, if we have people in our life that are invested in our joy and happiness, we will respond by taking better care of ourselves. So, for example, a special someone in your corner might encourage you to keep up on doctor's visits, step up your exercise routine, or delve into your hobbies. Because we are hardwired, social animals, and a large part of our survival as a species lies in our social want to feel accepted and loved.

When we are on our own, we feel like we are not accountable and might let some things go. It's best to keep two minds about this—we should take care and intention with our physical and mental health for those around us and ourselves. Taking better care of ourselves has endless benefits to our self-esteem, radiating outward to our loved ones and the world.

Love Helps Us Live Longer

Statistics don't lie! Those with steady partnerships are statistically less likely to suffer from substance abuse and have lower rates of anxiety-related illness and depression. Emotional, social, and spiritual support from dopamine-boosting relationships will undoubtedly manifest in our well-being. A happier, healthier you leads to a longer, more fulfilling life.

With a long list of health benefits, love is just what the doctor ordered! So be sure to give the room your relationships need to grow; they may save your life!

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