Hello lovely you.
Can you believe it is the love month, February already? It seems like I was just shopping for Christmas presents and now I have to think about Valentines Day! Since February is a time to reflect on the love in your life, I wanted to dive into a topic that I personally find fascinating, and that is the power of LOVE in our lives.
We all know that being in love or just spending time with our loved ones feels good. We feel positive emotions like joy, safety and indescribable warmth. But science has shown there are some pretty incredible things going on physically behind the scenes. It turns out love can actually BOOST our health.
Here are some amazing ways love makes us healthier:
Helps Beat Cancer
Let me start right out of the gate with an amazing study done out of the University of Iowa. Researchers found that when ovarian cancer patients had a strong feeling of connection with other people and had satisfying loving relationships, they had more robust “natural killer” cell activity at the site of the tumor than those who didn’t have those social ties.
In other words, when we feel real love in our life, our immune system’s white blood cells are even more capable of KILLING cancerous cells.
It Relieves Stress and Lowers Blood Pressure
A study conducted in 2014 by the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh showed that giving and receiving hugs and cuddles can help reduce our overall stress.
Lead author of the study, Sheldon Cohen, explains: “We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection. The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.”
Another study out of the University of North Carolina found that hugging may actually (and dramatically) reduce your blood pressure. But as an added bonus, hugs can increase your levels of oxytocin, which is a hormone that plays a key role in orgasms. And, the study found the more you hug, the better!
Women who gave and/or received the most hugs a day saw a significant increase in their oxytocin levels as well as a decrease in their blood pressure. In fact, the improvements in blood pressure numbers were similar to what people see with many of the leading blood pressure medications.
The moral of the story: save money and avoid nasty side effects of prescription medications by hugging more every single day!
It’s Actually Good for Our Heart
It turns out love is actually, physically good for our heart. A study out of the University of Pittsburgh found that women who were in satisfying and loving marriages were at much lower risk for developing heart disease compared to those in high-stress relationships.
It Helps Us Live Longer
The National Longitudinal Mortality Study, which has been tracking over a million participants since 1979, has found that, in general, married people have fewer heart attacks, less cancer rates, fewer bouts of pneumonia and, in general, live longer than single people.
Is Love the Future of Medicine?
Wouldn’t it be nice if, in the near future, your doctor not only prescribed a special diet and nutritional supplements for your health, but also DEMANDED that you and your partner took a romantic getaway three times a year? Some experts believe this emerging evidence will one day very soon translate into real-life medical advice.
I am so happy when I hear more and more medical doctors are giving real thought and interest into how our emotions effect our health. This is something I have known for decades. Love is not just a warm and fuzzy feeling, it seems to be an actual force of some kind that has the power to heal us. Even skeptics are looking at the relationship between love and health differently.
“My husband is an immunologist, and when we started our research, he’d be the first to admit that he thought the psychology part of this was a crock,” says Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of health psychology at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine. “Now, he’s seen what stress can do in bad relationships, and also how a good relationship can protect people from outside stresses—like work.”
Let’s all take this month of February as an opportunity to connect even deeper to the people we love. Show how much you love your partner, spouse, friends, siblings, parents and children. Find ways to show them how much you care and by all means, GIVE AS MANY HUGS AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!
With much love, light and a BIG, BIG bear hug…