How Does Love Affect Our Physical Health?

We all know that love can give us a physical reaction – a quickened heart rate, butterflies in our stomachs, dilated pupils, sweaty palms, and a hard time finding words. Love affects our physical health on many different levels. 

Love Promotes Emotional and Mental Wellbeing

Many studies have shown that a healthy and supportive relationship – romantic, familial, friendship, or otherwise can be linked to higher self-esteem, increased sense of self-worth, and improved self-confidence. No matter what form it comes in, love helps people incorporate safer behaviours into their everyday lives, reduces anxiety (worry, nervousness), and lowers the chance of developing depression or another form of mental illness.

Love Changes Your Brain Chemistry

Several brain chemicals and hormones can be attributed to love, but two specifically stand out: dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is a brain chemical that releases when you see or feel something pleasurable. It makes you want more of it. Oxytocin, a hormone that calms and helps couples bond, helps promote intimacy between two people. It’s also referred to as the ‘cuddle hormone’. This hormone is also released when playing with or petting your dog.

Falling Out of Love Hurts

When someone we love hurts us or is no longer part of our lives for one reason or another, our health can take a hit. This is because physical and emotional feelings use the same pain centres, and our brain uses the same neurological pathways to feel those feelings. You may have heard of broken heart syndrome, but you may not realise it is an actual medical condition that can negatively affect your physical, emotional, and mental health. Broken heart syndrome is also referred to as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, in which the heart temporarily enlarges – a serious and sometimes fatal condition.

Good News: Your Heart Can Rebound

Love is the greatest and most complex human emotion. While everyone experiences love differently, everyone has the capacity regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion. Love comes in many different forms and manifests in many ways throughout your life and relationships.