How Does Love Affect Mental Health?
Relationships based on love are an important aspect of human life. However, most people forget how important connections with others are for physical and mental health. Below are some ways love affects mental health.
While it is impossible to define love accurately, several studies show that having a healthy relationship, be it a friendship, romantic, or familial, leads to improved self-esteem, self-confidence, and better mental health. Pure love, regardless of the form, helps improve behavior, reduce anxiety, and the risks of depression and other mental illnesses. This explains why most people don’t stop at anything to find some love. Fortunately, some find their partners through the best dating sites 2020 to build a lasting relationship. That said, below are ways that love fosters mental health.
Love Changes Brain Chemistry
The association between mental health and brain chemistry cannot be broken. For those who don’t know what mental health means, it is a state of good emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Several studies on how mental health affects relationships suggest that individuals with a mental health crisis often fail to sustain meaningful connections.
That said, affectionate love temporarily changes your brain chemistry. The butterflies you feel in your stomach, and the exciting feeling in your heart are due to the release of important brain chemicals and hormones. Two common chemicals that lead to these feelings and promote an overall healthy mind are oxytocin and dopamine.
Dopamine released in the brain makes love between you and your significant other seemingly addictive. Dopamine is the same chemical that promotes addictive behaviors such as substance abuse and gambling. On the other hand, oxytocin promotes calmness and is responsible for bonding and intimacy between couples.
While both hormones promote mental health, lovers sometimes experience an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a directly proportional drop in serotonin neurotransmitters. This accounts for erratic behaviors such as nervousness and obsession that accompanies any blossoming love.
Love Eliminates Stress
If you have ever experienced bouts of stress, you understand why mental health is important. That said, dopamine levels often start dropping some months into your relationship as oxytocin or bonding hormone increases. This leads to a surge in fuzzy feelings towards your partner, which is good. Stress levels significantly drop if one feels securely attached to another person. So to say, being in the presence of someone caring or you hold with high regard lowers cortisol and adrenaline levels.
Love Prompts You to Take Care of Yourself
The benefits of love often go beyond mental health. As an individual, you often have a lot of denial surrounding various medical illnesses. However, as a couple, your partner may encourage you to visit a doctor, even for minor issues. Various studies suggest that paired people have high chances of detecting serious medical conditions at an early stage.
For instance, your partner can easily detect bruising, which occurs in the early stages of leukemia, Cushing’s disease, or kidney disease. Partners also easily notice impending signs of allergies and other health problems before their significant other. This relationship significantly shows how mental health alters decision-making, from an individual’s and couple’s perspectives.
Love Promotes Longer Living
Several studies on mental health have shown that married couples enjoy a longer time together than bachelors do. This makes the marriage phrase, “till death do us apart,” a serious commitment. According to the studies, the long-life benefits of love result from continuous social and emotional support that fosters mental health. Partners also often tend to hold each other accountable, be it medical care or leading a healthy lifestyle.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should be married to enjoy these benefits. A review of several studies concluded that the long-life and mental health benefits resulted from romantic relationships and other close relationships, such as friends and family.
Without a doubt, mental health is real. On the other hand, love is both a great and most complex emotion you can ever experience. Both love and mental health should coexist in a perfect balance for a better life. While different people experience love differently, everybody can love and be loved. Unfortunately, broken love can affect your mental health and social relationships.
Apart from love, an unexpected crisis can also destabilize your mental health. For instance, mental health during COVID was a serious concern for the affected families. If you have experienced mental health issues due to affectionate love, share your battles or highlights in the comments section below.
Written by Miranda Davis.
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash
Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.