Did you know that loving another – whether it’s your mom, partner, friend or pet – not only makes you feel on top of the world, it’s actually good for your heart too?
Over the years, numerous studies from around the world have shown how a meaningful and loving relationship can help prevent heart disease and add years to your life.
Here’s how love takes care of your heart:
Love lowers your blood pressure
A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine has found that people who spend time with their romantic partners experience a bigger drop in blood pressure than those who hang out with a stranger. Being in the company of a loved one, lowers your anxiety levels and makes you feel more relaxed, safe and protected.
Love reduces inflammation of the arteries
Experiencing feelings of love and appreciation helps to counteract the damaging effects of stress and negative emotion on your heart and arteries. Research has found that mental stress can lead to the narrowing of those arteries, which can restrict blood flow and lead to inflammation and atherosclerosis (disease of the arteries).
Love reduces your risk of heart attacks
Studies show that heart attack rates are lower in people who are in loving, long-term relationships. A study from Finland found that married men and women had a significantly lower risk of having heart attacks and dying from a heart attack compared to people who were single.
Love helps to slow your heart rate
Holding hands, hugging family and friends, cuddling with a loved one or stroking your beloved pet all have a calming effect on you. According to a study, published in Psychological Science, tender physical touch triggers your body’s release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which helps to counter the effects of stress by slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. It is the same hormone that promotes bonding between mothers and their babies.
Love can help lower your cholesterol levels
An intriguing study, published in the Human Communication Research journal, found that healthy college students who spent 20 minutes writing about their affection for loved ones (whether it be friends, relatives, or romantic partners) experienced significant drops in total cholesterol.
Start boosting your heart health today by making love a priority in your life. Take the time to appreciate the important people in your life – spend time with them, create special moments and express your love. Be generous with your hugs and cuddles and laugh often.
Last but not least, love yourself by giving your body the healthy food, exercise, sleep and sunshine it needs. When you love yourself, you can take better care of others.
(Photos by Pixabay. Pic of girl giving out free hugs by J3SSL33)