The Wonderful Effects of Love On Your Mental Well-Being!
The Definition of love
Love means many different things to different people. For some, it describes affectionate feelings. For others, it is the embodiment of a collection of virtues like honesty, trust, and loyalty. It is a word both simple and complex. Humans have searched for and created several ways to celebrate love and to display their affections.
The Science of Love
Modern science allows us to have a more comprehensive understanding of many things, from building machines to the inner workings of the body – and the science of love. Yes, there is a science to love, and it involves both chemistry and biology. It turns out that there is more to enjoying a healthy relationship with a loved one than simply putting a smile on your face – science supports that love can have positive benefits on a person’s mental wellness.
Science has uncovered that no matter what a person believes love is, it is more than a feeling – and there’s even evidence to prove it. According to psychiatrists, the nervous system is not a self-contained system, and the limbic system, which is responsible for our personality and emotions, develops from a very early age based on our loved ones. The idea is that the loved ones you grew up around had a far greater impact on your mental health and emotional health than you ever knew was possible – it is coded in your brain!
Love Helps You Cope
It was found that when the human brain was analyzed, maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones fostered lasting physical effects that amounted to better capacity for coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. It was also noted that the physical effects led to better-developed adaptiveness in humans. However, it is not only the relationships with loved ones in our childhood that is important – this remains true even for the relationships we form in our adulthood. In the 1980s, science named the physiological effects of chronic stress as ‘allostatic load’. It was found that good, loving relationships helped reduce the allostatic load. This is proof that social integration is an important part of mental wellness. The reduction in stress even had a great effect on your heart health lowering cholesterol and decreasing the risk of stroke!
The euphoric feeling of falling in love is not just a fairy tale – it is based on science. Falling in love leads to an increase in dopamine levels which is a chemical that is best described as one that gives you a feeling of reward. Dopamine is a mood intensifier, so the ‘cloud nine’ theory wasn’t so far off after all! However, there is a flip side to the coin. There happens to also be an increase in levels of cortisol in people who first fall in love. This spike accounts for the classic ‘erratic’ behavior so often associated with a person who is head over heels! The good news is that these cortisol levels do return to its normal level as your love relationship matures, but dopamine levels actually remain elevated. This means you get all the perks without the nerves as time goes by!
There’s another brain chemical that comes into play in a mature love relationship – oxytocin. This is famous for being the ‘bonding’ hormone and it can be increased simply by physical contact like a hug or even a loving chat on the phone. These brain chemicals help you feel comfort and decrease mental strain and anxiety.
Happy Wife, Happy Life!
Okay, we’re kidding – it takes two happy people to make a healthy relationship! Interestingly it’s been found through studies of married couples versus unmarried singletons that married couples are found to be in far better overall health and have lower instances of alcohol or substance abuse and increased longevity. As if you needed more reasons to walk down the aisle with your beloved! If you are single, don’t be in despair because healthy relationships with friends and family and maintaining social communication are all shown to be fantastic for your well-being as well!
There’s never been more reason to go out and enjoy the people you are lucky to have in your life. Be merry and form relationships with people as you go about your day. The old man at the bus station will appreciate it if you waved every morning, and maybe the pedestrians on the road will be warmed by your friendly smile – but one thing is for sure…. Your mental health will improve with every little step!
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