It comes on no surprise that how we relate to others has a huge impact on our health. Feeling loved and cared for can health physical pain, boost your memory, and enhance your overall sense of well-being and happiness. In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re exploring some of the health benefits of love:
- Lower Cortisol Levels – Cortisol is a hormone that is released when we’re under stress. Long term elevation of cortisol can lead to high blood pressure, chronic pain, and heart issues. However, research shows that being in the company of caring, supportive people can lower our cortisol levels, reducing stress.
- Better Moods – When we bond with loved ones, studies show that the brain releases a chemical called oxytocin. Oxytocin has been linked to elevated mood and self-esteem – it can even decrease physical pain. Ultimately, the release of oxytocin also has a calming effect and enhances feelings of empathy and emotional connection.
- Brain Benefits – When we feel empathy, love and compassion our brain is activated. Areas of our brain associat3ed with positive emotions and creativity are activated through positive interactions with others. The experience of love doesn’t just elevate your mood; it elevates your brain’s performance – memory, learning, and problem solving skills.
The benefits are so far-reaching that scientists can now show that being nurtured as an infant can promote healthy development of brain cells, the nervous system, and the immune system. Several new studies point to loving parenting as a child and a lowered risk for conditions like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and mental health disorders.
So this year don’t forget to show some love – you’ll reap the benefits in more ways than one!