SASHWATI SANYAL Aug 30, 2009.
They say a little love can cure a lot of diseases. According to Harry Reis, PhD, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships, “There’s no evidence that the intense, passionate stage of a new romance is beneficial to health,” says Harry Reis. “People who fall in love say it feels wonderful and agonizing at the same time.” All those ups and downs can be a source of stress.
It takes a calmer, more stable form of love to yield clear health benefits. “There is solid evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures,” claims Reis. Most of the research in this area centers on marriage, but Reis believes many of the perks extend to other close relationships — for example, with a partner, parent, or friend. Here are some ways in which love could be beneficial to good health:
1. Stable blood pressure: Spread love and be loved in return. It is believed that people with a strong social network have a constant pressure. Says Mukul Nath, a call centre executive reveals, “I was going through a rough phase in my professional life. It was a difficult phase when I heavily relied upon my friends and social contacts. My stress levels were really high around the same time. When I showed myself to the doctor, he prescribed adequate rest and a tension free lifestyle. At that time, it was only my friends who rallied around me, assured me that everything was fine and gave me the comfort and security I sought. It’s their love that helped me sail through.”
LOVE CURE: Psychologist Poornima Nigam says, “Positive relationships are always a great booster to your health. When there is a lot of bonding happening between a group, obviously stress levels are dissipated. There is adequate support that is required to get out of a tough situation, that’s why care, concern and love can help to get out of difficult situations.”
2. Less tendency towards depression: According to the Health and Human Services report, getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women. Delhi-based architect, Mohit Sharma reveals his trauma, “Not many people are aware of the fact that depression is a condition in the head and it is very much curable. People who suffer from depression are only pushed towards it because they are treated as untouchables. However, for me, when I got married, my wife was already aware of my condition. She supported me and helped me to address my problem. I communicated everything I felt to her and she communicated her feelings of positivity to me. It was her love that changed me into a normal human being. ”
LOVE CURE: This is not surprising, says Nigam, because social isolation is clearly linked to higher rates of depression. “It is important to put your faith and trust in the person to be cured. He/she should realize that they are loved and cared for. Building complete faith with your partner is what helps to reduce depression and feel normal again.
3. Better fitness levels: When it comes to fitness, a loving, stable relationship is inferior to new romance. Neeta Walia, an HR executive recalls, “Romance always perked me up. Even if I weren’t in a constant relationship with anyone, the thought of meeting someone new, the blush of first love all over again, encouraged me to look and feel good. The feeling in itself is enough to push you and encourage better fitness.”
LOVE CURE: Psychologist Anand Mehta says, “The part of the brain that identifies romance gets activated when a romantic partner is around the corner. This helps to make one feel good and in effect pushes the body to be in shape. In fact, love is something that can even get a sick person out of the bed.”
4. Natural pain control: A happy marriage often acts as a natural pain control. Tina Makhija, a teacher speaks about her experience, “I remember a time when I had an accident and I was quite nervous when I was about to receive my stitches. But the moment I saw my husband and he held my hand, I automatically felt better. The pain was as if was never there.”
LOVE CURE: Mehta explains, “The biological system is overwhelmed when it recognizes love. Pain is reduced to quite an extent when the mind believes that it cannot experience pain because a loved one is around. This often is translated into something like, “Nothing is going to happen, I am around.” The assurances create a cocoon that helps to tackle stuff like pain, fear and so on.”
5. Fewer colds: A common theory believes that people in healthy relationships take better care of themselves. A spouse may help you maintain proper oral hygiene. A best friend could motivate you to eat more whole grains. Over time, these good habits translate to fewer illnesses. Deepak Taneja, a software professional says, “I had a problem with my sinuses leading to cold and fever quite often. There was no permanent cure for it except to take good care of myself. However only when I got married, did I start being conscious about it. Foremost because I didn’t want my wife to get anxious over my attacks and also because she made it a point to take care of me quite efficiently.”
LOVE CURE: Psychologist Amit Shastri suggests, “Yes, this is something that works because when you realize that your health would directly affect the person closest to you, you immediately want to take precautions. It is also one of the things why children lend so much happiness and positivity to a household.”
6. Faster healing: The power of a positive relationship often makes flesh wounds heal faster. Sonali Dev, a housewife says, “It is quite true that when you are surrounded by positive relationships, you end up feeling a lot better about yourself. Whenever I would be low or hurt myself, it was my mother in law who personally took care of me. She made potions and gave me medications that she applied herself. Her feelings of care and concern made me feel so wanted and taken care of. I actually feel like her own daughter and the wounds would heal so much faster.”
LOVE CURE: Psychiatrist Aakash Verma reveals, “This works at an emotional and the mental level. Human beings are such that they can easily pick up good/bad vibes. When there is a lot of positive energy around, it acts on your state of mind and this affects the body directly. Thus, it is quite often noticed that people take a longer time to heal in hostile surroundings.”
7. Longer life: Happily married people tend to live longer. Says writer, Bhawana Singh, “I have always associated a happy marriage with my parents. They are the ideal couple for me, forever in love with each other. They both lived until ninety and passed away within days of each other. They never fought in front of me; all their arguments were restricted to their bedroom. And as people they complemented each other.”
LOVE CURE: Verma says a happy marriage affects the overall well being of the couple. Love can make you want to live longer, and at the end, it all depends upon how your mind is affected by your surroundings, he suggests.
8. Happier life: Banker Shruti Rao swears by the adage that love makes the world go round. She says, “Lots of love in your life makes for happier individuals. If you see everyone happy and smiling around you, you inevitably come out of your gloom. If my family is happy and around me I feel most of my problems are solved. This makes me easy-going, fun loving and living in the moment. I value every moment that I spend in the company of my family.”
LOVE CURE: Shastri reiterates, “Staying happy all the time is quite difficult. The key to a happy life is to feel satisfied about what one does. Not just that but it’s important not to step on others for your own happiness. In the end it’s a circle where what you give is what you get.”
Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day!
Thank you for your love and support!
Source: The Times of India