Being in-love is good for you. See how!

Being in-love is good for you. See how!

Partner or parent, friend, or spouse—human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging. And we’re not just saying that to make you feel good. Science proves that love really is a boon to your well-being. Check out surprising ways that your body thrives on the thrills—and the long-term stability—of loving relationships.

HEALTHIER HEART

Marriage dramatically lowers the risk of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks in both men and women of all ages. Compared to their partnered peers, single folks face a 58-66% greater risk of cardiac events.

FEWER STROKES

For men, a happy marriage is a buffer against stroke. An Israeli study shows that single guys face a 64% greater risk of fatal stroke than married males do—but only if the unions are sound and supportive.

LESS STRESS

A strong partnership can put the kibosh on cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. In an experiment at the University of Chicago, strongly connected people handled stress better than their single peers did.

BETTER AGING

Want to stay healthy as you get older? Try improving your love life. In a 2013 study, happily married participants reported better health as they aged compared to their peers in less robust unions.

LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE

Another study shows that the blissfully hitched have a lower blood pressure than their single counterparts—even those with strong social networks. But unhappily married folks fare the worst of all.

LONGER LIFE

It’s a fact: Married people live longer than their unwedded counterparts. According to the National Health Interview Survey, singletons face a 58% higher risk of mortality in any given year.
FEWER COLDS

Carnegie Mellon researchers have proven that happy, calm people fend off colds and flus more readily than anxious or depressed ones. The takeaway? Positive relationships can help protect against the crud.

SPEEDIER HEALING

When scientists inflicted small blister wounds on couples, the injuries healed almost twice as quickly when the partners interacted with warmth. Arguments and hostility caused a full day’s delay in healing.

MORE CALM

MRI brain scans reveal the rewards of love. The gray matter that governs anxiety is calmer when you’re in a long-term love match. The lively part of a lovebird’s brain? It’s the region that regulates bonding.

LESS PAIN

Love doesn’t hurt after all. Scientists have proven that people consumed with love just don’t have time for the pain. When focused on an image of their beloved, their brains manage discomfort better.

HAPPIER LIFE

Matrimony also buffers against being bummed out—in both the short-term and the long. Researchers have documented a happiness dividend in the year after marriage, and it persists over the years.

JUST FRIENDS

Flying solo right now? Fear not. Scientists have also shown that a strong network of friends, family, neighbors, and other important connections boost the odds of a long, healthy life by 50%.

Not in love? How to still reap the benefits

If a significant other is lacking in your life, no need to worry. “Some of these health benefits still apply to people who have a strong social support system,” notes Dr. Kilical. “Positive, close relationships with family members and friends can keep you healthier, too.”

Even something as simple as a hug can help. Most people know hugs can help you feel connected to other people, but did you know they can actually help prevent sickness? When you feel connected to others, especially through physical touch, you’re less prone to experience sickness caused by stress.

In one study of more than 400 adults, researchers found that the more often people hugged, the more their chances of getting sick decreased. Hugging may be an indicator of overall social support in a person’s life, which also promotes good health. In the same study, the adults who said they have a strong social support system had fewer cold symptoms than those who said their support system was lacking.

No matter what your relationship status, remember that positive, close relationships are important for your overall health and wellness. Taking the time to invest in family members and friends is also an investment in your personal health.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional.
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