10 Surprising Health Benefits of Love

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Love

“I need somebody to love,” sang the Beatles, and they got it right. Love and health are intertwined in surprising ways. Humans are wired for connection, and the rewards are immense when we cultivate good relationships. But we’re not necessarily talking about spine-tingling romance.

“There’s no evidence that the intense, passionate stage of a new romance is beneficial to health,” says Harry Reis, Ph.D., co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships. "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 very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures,” Reis tells WebMD.

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. The key is to “feel connected to other people, feel respected and valued by other people, and feel a sense of belonging,” he says. Here are 10 research-backed ways that love and health are linked:

  1. Fewer Doctor Visits
  2. Less Depression & Substance Abuse
  3. Lower Blood Pressure
  4. Less Anxiety
  5. Natural Pain Control
  6. Better Stress Management
  7. Fewer Colds
  8. Faster Healing
  9. Longer Life
  10. Happier Life

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