Counting the ways love keeps us healthy

When “love is in the air” everything just seems a little more special, more vibrant and more alive.  These feelings also extend into affecting our health.  Ask anyone what does love mean, and you will get a potpourri of answers.  However you may describe it, love is a powerful antidote that can remedy a number of aspects in our lives that keeps us feeling positive, happy and more healthy.

Here are some ways a loving feeling whether in a brand new relationship or a long-standing marriage, can offer health benefits in more ways than you realize:

1.     Love creates positive feelings

When you feel or show love, it rewards us with positive feelings and emotions.  Those strong feelings of love are known to help us fight off stress and pain providing us with the power to heal faster both physically and mentally.  Any sort of loving act you show another reduces negative emotions that can unfavorably affect our immune, endocrine and cardiovascular function.

2.     Love strengthens family ties

Love begins in the home and if there is a mother who shows and expresses her love of family, it can work wonders even in the most dire of situations.  A 2011 study published in Time magazine showed that one factor protecting poor children from later illness was a nurturing mother who exposed them to what a loving relationship is all about.  Chronic stress can have an impact on long-term health.  But when a mother and father expose love to their children, it has a dynamic positive influence on their mental and physical health well into the future. 

3.     Love extends life and fights disease

When faced with a life-threatening or chronic disease, love can sometimes make all the difference.  Having strong family relationships and knowing how much people love and support you, can help people recover quicker or completely from a serious illness. 

4.     Love helps provide better sleep

When you snuggle up to your loved one in bed your body and wellbeing are feeling more relaxed meaning a better night’s sleep.  Those loving feelings are the result of the feel-good hormone oxytocin.  When we are adequately rested, this improves heart health and a stronger immune function as much of the reparative work of the body is done during sleep.

To boost that healthy, loving feeling, here are some ways to bring more love into your life:

·      Start by showing more love to others.  Be generous with your time, money, and attitude that can bring more happiness and joy into other people’s lives.  All of us should practice at least one random act of kindness each day.

·      Give out more hugs and handshakes.  A pat on the back or brief touch can instantly improve mood, lower stress levels and make you feel more at ease. 

·      Learn to love life – we only go through it once.  Show joy by dancing, laughing, or singing.  Appreciate and enjoy the moments that bring you pure happiness and respond with love.

·      Have a more playful approach when around those you love.  Always make time for your loved ones no matter how busy you are.

·      Last but not least, learn to love yourself.  Be kind to yourself, treating you like you would someone you are in love with.  Remember, in order to love others, we must first love ourselves.