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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Love and Health - Everything.
What's Love Got to Do With It?

You know the Tina Tuner song, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”  Well, everything.  This is the month of Valentine’s Day.  The day flowers, cards, and special dinners are given/received to demonstrate love. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day so much because I feel we should express and show our love towards someone every day (or at least as often as possible).   I’m not talking just romantic love.  I’m talking about the love of family, friends, and other social relationships.  All these connections are critical to health. 

I often go back to the definition of health as defined by the World Health Organization.  “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  Physical health along with disease and infirmity are quantifiable.  Certainly less quantifiable and definitely more of a feeling is how a positive interaction with your “connections” makes you feel great. 

When you feel love or a deep connection dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical associated with reward, is activated.  Here are a few key reasons to cultivate relationships.

  • With consistent social and emotional support, you live longer.  

  • The feeling of loneliness stimulates anxiety.  Cortisol and adrenaline levels rise.  Having strong, intimate relationships can mitigate anxiety.

  • Just being in the presence of someone who greets us with positive regard and caring, i.e. when you feel securely connected, your stress levels go down. 

  • There’s a lot of denial around medical illness.  Individuals are more likely to shrug off something and say, “It’s not serious.”  Someone who cares about you will notice changes with you and ask/encourage you to find out what’s going on.

  • Having great, real connections makes you happy.  You laugh.  You talk through stressors.  You relax.  You try new things.  You produce dopamine.  You are simply just happier! 

Relationships (social connections) take work.  Even though I’m not a gardener, I often use gardener analogies.  “Like a garden, you can’t neglect your relationships and not expect to have weeds or perhaps something that is beyond repair.”  Take the time to connect.  It is that important to your health.

When I work with my clients, the connections/relationships you have matter.  Someone who is supported in their journey is typically more successful in attaining their goals and dreams.  Someone who is fighting with the people in their inner circle about changing creates more challenges.  Change is already hard enough.  You need all the help you can get so surround yourself with those that support you in your journey.  So, what’s love got to do with it?  Well, everything. 

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