Love – It is a powerful force that impacts the mind and body. The definition of love is different for every human being, and love comes in many forms, but ultimately, love is a set of emotions and behaviors characterized by intimacy, passion, and commitment. It involves care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust. Love can vary in intensity and can change over time, but love is infinite and has no boundaries. Love is something we give and receive; the more we give, the more we get. One can love someone or something, and one can be in love with someone. Growing up, most people have fantasies and hopes that they one day will meet the person of their dreams, fall in love, build a family, and live happily ever after. While that does sound nice and may happen for some, love also comes when you least expect it.
Love Comes in Various Forms
You don't have to be in a relationship to experience the benefits of love. One can love their friends, their pets, their children, and best of all, themselves. In fact, true love will never exist until you practice self-love.
- Self-love: Self-love is defined as having an appreciation for one's own worth or value. It also means paying attention to one's own happiness and well-being. One must learn to be comfortable in your own skin, be confident, and have compassion for yourself. It is one of the hardest forms of love but the most important.
- Friendship: A bond between people that connects them and lets them share feelings and thoughts. Someone is your friend if you feel you can confide in them and want to spend time with them. Friends can be close, acquaintances, or best, as long as mutual respect exists.
- Lust: This is a form of love that often involves intense feelings of attraction without a sense of commitment; it often takes place early in a relationship and may deepen into a more lasting love.
- Passionate love: When you are in love, there will be intense feelings of longing and attraction; it often involves an idealization of the other person and a need to maintain constant physical closeness. There must be trust, affection, intimacy, and commitment.
- Unconditional love: This type of love is the selfless act of loving someone or something with full acceptance and without expecting anything in return. You might equate this type of love with the love you have for your parents, relatives, and your children, even your pets! This type of love makes our lives more meaningful.
9 Surprising Health Benefits of Love
You may not even realize the effect love brings to your life or what it does to your body. Love brings many healing properties. Having loving relationships sustain us, defines us, and keeps us healthy. Scientific studies show that being in love causes our body to release feel-good hormones and neurochemicals that trigger specific, positive reactions. Levels of dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine increase when people are in love. Together, these chemicals are responsible for all the magic we feel when we are in love; it's a high. Kirtly Parker Jones, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Healthcare, stated, “People involved in loving relationships have [fewer] doctor visits, shorter hospital visits, have less pain, and have more positive emotions.” She also added that loving friendships make us more resilient when hard times come. It’s one thing to feel good about love, but love also brings a slew of health benefits from sharing any type of healthy relationship.
- Love makes you happy. Feelings of love intensify moods. Whether it feels like butterflies in your belly or just an extra pep in your step, love brings smiles. When you first fall in love, dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical associated with reward, is especially active.
- Increases life expectancy. Experiencing love actually makes you live longer. Research suggests that people involved in healthy social relationships typically live longer. The benefits of these relationships can even lower your risk of heart attack and developing certain types of cancer or pneumonia.
- Maintains a Healthy Heart. Studies indicate that those involved in healthy, loving relationships have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those in stressful relationships or who tend to feel lonely more often.
- Reduces Depression. Falling in love and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as friendships, have been shown to reduce feelings of isolation and depression in both males and females while simultaneously increasing the sense of belonging and happiness.
- Immunity Booster. Feeling loved, cared for, and secure boosts the immune system and reduces the chance of catching cold or other viral infections. Those with a loving support system also tend to recover more quickly from an illness.
- Lowers Blood Pressure. Finding a love connection can make your heart skip a beat, but a positive relationship's safe and secure feeling calms anxiety and keeps your blood pressure in check. So, when you're with the one you love, that light feeling you have in your heart may actually be your blood pressure dropping.
- Decreases Anxiety & Stress Levels. Due to the security and support healthy relationships offer, you are less likely to feel stressed if you have a partner or close friend to help you through difficult situations or emotions. Studies indicate that stress levels and anxiety reduce when involved in supportive, positive relationships because more oxytocin and dopamine are produced, which helps decrease the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Helps Your Gut. 80% of your immune system (and the vast majority of your body's microbes) reside in your gut. The feeling of love can help to nurture and support your life-enhancing gut microbiome and fight off harmful bacteria that can make you feel under the weather.
- Betters Your Sleep. Having less stress and anxiety helps you get better sleep. You are more likely to sleep well and feel refreshed when you wake in the morning because tensions are eased when you feel loved and supported.
So, as you can see, love is everything and is everywhere. Love your partner, love your family, love your friends, and love YOURSELF! Love enriches our lives, keeps us healthy, and makes us smile. From improving our immune system and blood pressure to helping us heal quicker and enjoy life longer, a loving relationship is life's greatest medicine. All you need is love.
Life is too short to sit in a doctor’s office
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