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Love ignites a superpower within us

It is amazing that when we are in love, and experiencing love, everything feels good! Our body feels great, emotionally we are on top, and even the usual work or home stresses don’t get us down.

Whether it’s romantic love, love for family, friends, or a child, or love toward ourselves our world feels brighter, happier, and much more positive when we are experiencing love.

Love is the greatest healing force in the universe. It is more than just an emotion, it is a bond, an energy, an experience, it creates balance and unity.

Giving and receiving love is one of the best feelings we can have.  We know that it makes us feel happy and content, but does it do anything for our actual health?  Can feeling and receiving love contribute to a healthier and longer life?   The short answer is, YES!

Love quite literally has the power to heal, and also has a positive impact on our overall health and longevity:

  • Studies have found that couples in happy, loving relationships have significantly faster wound healing times than those lacking love in their lives.
  • Cultures that prioritize social connections (like regular family gatherings) and feelings of love are some of the healthiest and longest-living populations on the planet. In fact, having loving, healthy relationships predicts a 50 percent increase in longevity.
  • Chronically ill patients that have a strong loving relationship with God, have a 40 percent more positive perception of their health than those without a strong connection to spiritual love.
  • It can also lower blood pressure and raise levels of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in social bonding. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is associated with empathy, trust, and relationship building.

Harvard scientists studying social connections determined that positive social connections (giving and receiving love) help to relieve harmful stress levels, which can adversely affect your arteries, gut function, and ability to regulate insulin. The study also showed that having positive, loving relationships can help boost your immune system.

anxiety and depression treatment

So, love can help our physical health but what about our mental health? Having healthy and loving relationships with others has a big impact on our self-worth and self-esteem. This is especially important for young adults as they dive into adolescence and new social environments where comparisons can become overwhelming. Feeling loved and valued by others encourages healthier lifestyle choices, good self-esteem, reduced stress levels, and provides better mental health throughout life.

This is achieved by the “Love” hormones and how they affect your wellbeing.
When you experience loving thoughts a biochemical cascade is set off releasing hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain and body. Two of the most notable “love” hormones and their health-boosting effects are oxytocin and dopamine.

Oxytocin, aka “the love hormone” or “the cuddle chemical”, is the neurotransmitter released when we experience feelings of love. It’s the hormone that makes us feel warm and fuzzy and attached to the people and things we love. And oxytocin has many positive effects on the rest of our body by:

  • Reducing cortisol levels (cortisol is the signature stress hormone)
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Making us more resistant to pain
  • Promoting growth and healing in our body
  • Improving memory
  • Promoting sexual health
  • Preventing inflammation in the brain and nervous system (which protects your brain)

Dopamine is known as the “feel-good hormone” because of its mood-boosting effects. Dopamine’s effects come from its association with pleasure. When we anticipate or experience something pleasurable – like spending time with loved ones or enjoying a batch of fresh-baked cookies, we get a release of dopamine into the system. Besides just giving us temporary good feelings, dopamine also:

  • Improves memory and learning
  • Boosts motivation
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Promotes healthy sleep
  • Increases bone strength
  • Prevents Parkinson’s and other movement disorders
  • Improves sexual health

For all of these great reasons it is worth cultivating more pleasurable experiences in our lives.

Commit to a Life of Love

Love in its essence is a state of being, not just the “head-over-heels-in-love” you feel for your partner. Actively and intentionally seeking, giving, and experiencing love creates an upward spiral – the more you love life, the more life loves you back. Here are some simple ways to cultivate more love in your everyday life:

  • Stay Connected – to yourself and others. Don’t be an island to yourself.
  • Tell Others How You Feel – communicate and share yourself letting others do the same.
  • Be Generous – with your time, your energy, and your love
  • Physical Touch – helps us feel connected to ourselves and others. (Remember oxytocin)
  • Meditate and Pray – connect to your soul, your purpose, and your higher calling
  • Eat Well – the food we eat is the foundation for the neurotransmitters and hormones our body needs to feel good. Food can feed our body, and our soul.

At the SC Vitality Center, we love our clients and taking care of you. We are grateful to have amazing peeps under our care.

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