Health Benefits of Positive Relationships:

Research indicates that love and positive relationships impact health and well-being. Here are just some of the many examples. It really is just common sense backed up by scientific research.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a 68 page report that married people are happier, live longer, drink less, and even have few doctor's appointments than unmarried folks.

The Mayo Clinic cites statistics that happily married people live longer than singles and have lower rates of diseases including cancer and heart failure. Not only did increased levels of happiness significantly improve longevity, but these couples, acting as a team, also became better equipped to defray the stressors in life that may be detrimental to your health.

Using an MRI scanner it may be seen that sections of the brain that produce powerful neurotransmitters that affects pleasure, happiness and well-being are activated when people are experiencing feelings of love.

Adults who feel they are useful to their family and friends are less likely to suffer from chronic illness and have lower mortality rates. Our relationships help us cope with stress just by having someone we can turn to for emotional support and advice that can buffer the negative effects of stress." says a Professor of Psychology who has been publishing studies for the past 10 years on relationships. "We all know not all marriages are happy," Holt-Lundstad says. It's the happy marriages that have the most positive effects on health and disease. "Positive relationships proved as beneficial to survival and longevity as quitting smoking and exceeded the benefits of exercise."

Divorce can damage one's physical health so dramatically that the person never recovers according to a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Divorced people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, than married people. They also have 23 percent more mobility limitations.

The higher a person rates their feelings of loneliness the more likely they are to develop cognitive problems, with the loneliest twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Research shows that physical affection between loving partners can help the brain, heart and other body systems. Dr. Kathleen Light of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is studying oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates dopamine to make us feel good when we're close to loved ones. It also lowers stress hormones, reduces blood pressure, improves mood, increases pain tolerance and might help wounds heal faster. Dr. Light has found that people in positive relationships have higher levels of oxytocin, and the more physical contact one has, the more the levels seem to increase.

Arthur Aron, a psychologist who devotes his profession to understanding the science of love, does brain scans with fMRI images of people at various stages of the romantic journey. He consistently finds that feeling of love trigger the brains' dopamine-reward system. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure just as when people win money or even take cocaine, of course without the cost of an illicit drug addiction.

Since being in love leaves you feeling happy, as well as other positive emotions such as feeling pleased and relaxed, you are more resistant to the common cold than those who feel anxious, hostile or depressed. A happy marriage may also increase the rate that wounds heal. An Ohio State University study showed that a married couple's positive support speeds up their bodies ability to recover from sports injuries, including blisters!

Research on adults deprived of touch stimulation shows that many men become aggressive while many women become depressed and withdrawn. Talk about a vicious circle!

Love often and love well. Get help to discover what blocks you may have to healthy, connected, intimate relationships, and change them! Like any health strategies, it may take some work but it is certainly worth it!

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