Generally speaking, most of us are aware of the fact that if we love someone and are loved in return, our overall sense of well-being is improved.
Happiness is healthy, plain and simple. However, the benefits of giving and receiving love become more and more amazing as we examine them more closely.
Typically, individual well-being is assessed in terms of how well we’re doing physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and socially. So, let’s have a look at how cultivating love and healthy relationships positively affects our health and well-being in five specific areas.
Here are 5 Benefits of Giving and Receiving Love:
Oxytocin often called the “cuddle chemical,” is a hormone released when we touch someone we care about. It’s also a factor in our connection with pets. Many of us know that this hormone increases with regular sexual intercourse, but we also have more of it in our systems when we are simply hanging out and having fun with friends.
In other words, the more loving our connections, the more we accumulate this fabulous chemical, which is known to lower blood pressure, decrease stress and even boost immunity. Oxytocin reduces aches and pains, increases energy, and allows us to experience life more often on the positive.
In fact, studies in psychology and aging show that loneliness increases blood pressure while the feeling of being “connected” lowers it. Studies also show how oxytocin overrides fear and reduces anxiety, which is why people do such great things in the name of love. This chemical also improves our ability to recognize and respond appropriately to social cues and enhances all aspects of our well-being.
Mental well-being involves increased alertness, knowledge, and common sense. Sure, we can cultivate our intellectual health with books, cultural events, and other formal educational experiences. But we can also learn an incredible amount from the people we surround ourselves with.
A person who displays intellectual health is able to access their own gifts. From that awareness, they can tap into their capacity for creativity. But it’s also clear that our connections to others feed all of these self-discoveries. We learn through building our relationships and learning to improve our communication with others: opening up, listening to others open up, and simply having fun, all sharpen our emotional intelligence.
Smart people make good decisions after some thoughtful consideration to decide how to move forward. Brainstorming often is an invaluable part of the process, whether on social media or through a cozy chat with a friend. Such connections increase our skill and capacity to think, respond, cultivate resilience, and expand our minds.
Studies have found that people who maintain close relationships with others are less likely to suffer from clinical depression. There’s a reason, of course, which isn’t often expressed: to maintain successful relationships, we will have already learned to manage our own emotions in healthy ways.
In fact, that kind of accountability to oneself is a prerequisite to successful connections. If we have already cultivated self-awareness, we most likely will also have developed social skills, including the ability to read social cues and show appreciation, care, and concern for others. These skills establish the healthy ground on which relationships can thrive.
Let’s face it, humans are imperfect and can even be annoying. We hurt each other’s feelings. We fall into the traps of assumptions and unmet expectations. We let one another down.
But people who have successful long-term relationships practice generosity, forgiveness, patience, and acceptance.
Gratitude and appreciation are often said to be the most important qualities in a successful relationship, and there is much research to support this statement. Studies suggest that communicating gratitude actually contributes to neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to make changes in response to our experiences. More generally, these are the benefits of practicing mindfulness. The more we practice being thankful, for ourselves, others, and for life itself, the easier and more natural the feeling becomes.
Successful relationships require us to develop particular skills: to be supportive without attempting to “fix” the problem, to communicate warmth without intruding on another’s privacy and to manage conflict without damaging our connections. To understand how to traverse the slippery slope of good boundary management is essential to healthy connections. The reach of such skills extends to our relationships with other loved ones and carries over to enhance the power and meaning of our interactions in the workplace and in community life.
In the wellness space, we’re swamped by information overload about what to do and what not to do in order to remain healthy and live longer. We hear the latest about the benefits of kale and the detriments of BPA in plastic. Sometimes the information is contradictory or the research confusing, and much of it changes on a regular basis. What does stay consistent, however, is that healthy connections with others mean fewer visits to the doctor, shorter stays at the hospital, and a longer lifespan. This is undeniable.
In the book, “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings,” Emmet challenges us to make a loving commitment by saying: “I have chosen the path of Love. My own heart is to be my workshop, my laboratory, my great enterprise, and love is to be my contribution to humanity.”
Are you ready to make personal and spiritual changes in your life? Consider a one on one private session with Moira or a reading to free yourself from limitations and open yourself up to greater possibilities. I invite you to open the door.