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We all treasure our social relationships and wouldn’t trade them for anything. We have good friends, family connections, romantic relationships, and many others.  It’s easy to recognize the positive relationships that leave us happier and calmer. But did you know those relationships might do more than give you an emotional lift? Good relationships impact your physical health and well-being more than you might think. And that’s not to mention your mental health, which improves dramatically. 

Humans were made to be loved and challenged by other humans. Our hormones bring us together, and our loving relationships can make us healthier. Likewise, our health can make us more caring people. Healthy relationships have several potential health benefits and it’s important that we recognize them. 

Not all Relationships are Equal 

 So, let’s be clear. We’re not talking about unhealthy relationships where one person tries to control the other, stresses their spouse out, or stomps all over the other’s boundaries. Unhealthy relationships can damage your health, so you must be aware of whether your relationships are improving or hurting your health and make choices. 

Love and health are a great partnership for everyone. As humans, connection is essential, which is beneficial for our hormones. The benefits hormones have on someone’s physical health apply to men and women. The same is true of healthy relationships. 

There are many health benefits of positive and strong relationships.  

6 Potential Health Benefits if Healthy Relationships 

1) Increases Healthier Habits 

It’s so important to take care of your body. You only get one! People we love can help us be the best version of ourselves and often help encourage healthy habits.  It’s unlikely you will let your dental hygiene go if you wake up to someone to kiss every morning. Spouses and friends can also encourage us to eat better and exercise regularly. Increasing your physical activity in a way that works with your hormones is a good thing. Doing it with the emotional support of someone who cares about you makes it more accessible. A support system of accountability partners makes our commitments easier to keep. For example, married couples often avoid unhealthy habits and have lower rates of substance abuse. (1)  

2) Love May Lower Stress and Anxiety  

Loving relationships can lower stress levels and help the body respond to stress. When we are in love, the body releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Just being with someone you care about can lower your stress. Want to lower cortisol even more? Give or receive a hug. One study found that a hug can reduce cortisol more than talking on the phone with a loved one. (2) If you’re having a difficult day, a hug can turn it around. 

Do you struggle with low self-esteem? A study done in 2013 showed that hugs can help ease existential fears in people that do. (3) 

3) Love May Improve Heart Health 

Love can improve your heart health. Lower inflammation, healthy habits, and lower blood pressure might be the reason for this potential health benefit of love. According to a 2014 study in Finland, married people have a lower risk of heart attacks and death. If they have a heart attack, it’s less likely to be fatal. (4) 

Conversely, studies link bad relationships to increased coronary artery disease. 

4) Love May Relieve Pain 

Love might help relieve your pain. A CDC report found married people had fewer complaints of headaches and backaches. (5) Studies support the idea that love can make you more resilient to pain. Holding the hand of a loved one can make the pain more bearable. One study even found seeing a photo of a loved one could reduce pain perception. (6) 

5) Supports a Healthy Immune System 

Love lowers stress and helps your body’s immune response. Stress dampens the immune response because of the inflammation and hormone disruption it can cause. Love, on the other hand, can protect us from illness and support our immune systems. (7) (8) In fact, regular hugs have been shown to lower your chances of getting a cold and can also help you recover. (9) 

6) May Lead to Long Life 

Healthy habits, a supported immune system, and lower stress could all add up to living longer. So, a longer life is another potential health benefit of love! According to one study of 19,000 adults’ marriage satisfaction, a happier marriage could mean a 20% lower risk of dying compared to those who described their marriage as unhappy. (10) Other studies show that all our loving relationships can add up to a longer life. (11)  

Love and Health Make Life so Much Better 

When you ask seniors what they wish they’d focused on more, many say they wish they’d focused more on people and taking care of themselves. Things come and go, but it’s the people that make a difference. You cannot enjoy your time on this earth as much without people to love and being the healthiest version of yourself.  

Take time today to look at your closest relationships. Give these people a tight hug, if you can, or reach out to express gratitude for them. We all know how good it feels to know someone is thinking of us. Expressing gratitude also has health benefits. 

All health problems come from inflammation, which is caused by traumas, toxins, and thoughts. Give a hug and stay positive to improve your thoughts. Support your body through traumas and toxins by reaching out to a Wellness Way clinic today!

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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