By Daneen James
Sometimes we hesitate to emotionally engage beyond a surface level. Life without genuine connection can be hard and lonely. But it can feel safer not to extend ourselves and risk the disappointment of unmet expectations. Good thing relationship has its benefits...
Humans are wired for connection. Studies by The Health and Human Services Department consistently link social isolation to higher rates of depression in men and women. They also report findings that getting and staying married contributes to decreases in heavy drinking and other drug abuse. Whether because there's someone to hold you accountable, someone cares for you or there's someone you care about. It's clear that people who connect with other people and actively engage in relationships, where they feel connected, a sense of belonging, respected and valued are healthier. They experience fewer diseases and feel less overwhelmed, burdened and anxious.
According to a study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the best blood pressure rates are found among happily married couples. Followed by singles who have strong, supportive social networks. Conversely, evidence suggests that relationships with frequent emotional fluctuations or instability create stress that undermine health. While, positive, long-term relationships are shown to create less activation in the area of the brain that produces anxiety and more activation in the part of the brain that registers pain. In effect, study participants (with positive long-term relationships) experienced fewer headaches and reported less backpain. Not to mention, increased activity in the brain's "reward center" and the area associated with bonding, which creates a sense of overall life satisfaction. The better the relationship, the greater the effect.
The link between life and love
We've seen that positive relationships contribute to increased health and wellbeing. But, perhaps even more striking, is the evidence that connects being loving to faster healing rates, stronger immune systems and increased life expectancy. Not only that, ever notice that kind people are genuinely happier? They live with a sense of appreciation that elevates others and radiates throughout every aspect of their life. Subsequently, they attract goodness and tend to live richer and more fulfilling lives. While hostile people tend to repel others. They are often lonely and look for ways to fill the void in their life.
Regardless of type, loving relationships powerfully impact our lives. Giving and receiving love is the link to wholeness.
Give it a try.
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