Science on why love is good for your health

If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day may be one of the healthiest days of the year — despite the champagne and chocolate.

1. Love makes you happy.

When you first fall in love, dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical associated with reward, is especially active. “That is a mood intensifier, so people feel extremely positive and very appreciated,” says Dr. Helen Riess, director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachussets General Hospital and author of the forthcoming book The Empathy Effect. Hence that “on cloud nine” feeling you get in the throes of a new relationship.

2. Love busts stress

“When people feel securely attached, their stress levels go down,” she says. “Just being in the presence of someone who greets us with positive regard and caring can actually lower those levels of cortisol and adrenaline and create greater homeostasis, which means that your neurochemicals are back in balance.”

3.Love eases anxiety.

Quite a few studies have pointed to ways that loneliness can hurt your health, from increasing inflammation to activating pain centers. “The feeling of loneliness stimulates anxiety, which is mediated by different neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine,” Riess says. “Also, cortisol and adrenaline levels rise when people feel insecure and threatened,” which triggers your body’s stress response. Being in love and feeling close to another person can mitigate anxiety.

Source Credit: Time

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