5 Ways Love Makes Your Heart Healthy
February is the month to embrace love in all its glory, which makes the shortest month of the year one of the healthiest – at least for your heart. That’s because the act of loving someone else, whether it’s your boyfriend, mother, spouse or dog, actually and quite literally improves the health of your heart. And yes, this is backed by science.
Here are 5 ways good lovin’ helps your ticker.
Your Blood Pressure Dips
As if spending time with the one you love wasn’t fantastic enough…
According to a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, our blood pressure actually dips more when we are around our loved ones than when we are around strangers. Researchers believe this effect is most likely due to the fact when we are around those we love, we feel “perceived emotional support” which calms us and gives us a profound sense of well-being.
Hugs Are Better Than Drugs
Or at least as good anyway…
When you hug someone you really love, your body releases that feel-good hormone oxytocin which helps the body reduce stress hormones, so says a study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina.
When Your Heart Beats Faster – it Literally Gets a Workout
You know when you’re standing really close to the one you love, whether it’s your partner of 15 years or a new crush, and you look in their eyes and you feel… a rush? Well, this happens because your brain releases the hormones adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which make your heart beat faster and stronger. Have these pitter-patter sessions enough times and you can train your heart to be more efficient at pumping your blood just like aerobic exercise does. Although, isn’t making googly eyes much more fun?
Laughter Fights Atherosclerosis
Research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has revealed that the very act of laughing with friends and other loved ones can reverse the effects of atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the blood vessels. How does this work exactly? Well, atherosclerosis has been linked to mental stress, and laughing has a way of releasing that stress. So, if you haven’t laughed lately, get together with someone you love and rent a funny movie – STAT.
Holding Hands or Valium?
According to a study published by Psychological Science, holding hands with someone you love reduces anxiety and has a very calming effect on your entire body. Get this – they had wives lie inside an M.R.I. scanner and prepared them to get a mild shock on their ankle. Knowing what was coming made the women very anxious. But when their husbands reached into the scanner and held their hand, the imaging showed a reduction in activity in the area of the brain associated with anticipating pain.
High levels of stress and anxiety can lead to increased blood pressure and heart disease. So, if you want to keep your heart healthy, better start holding hands with that special someone more often.
If you want a healthier heart, better invite as much love into your life as you can!
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