Love might not heal all wounds, but according to several experts it might make you heal faster, the Washington Post reported Feb. 7. It can also lower blood pressure, increase happiness, and protect against the common cold.
Most people know that stress is bad for your body, but few people realize that happiness is actually good for your health. According to studies by Stony Brook University psychologist Arthur Aron, hugging and hand-holding released a hormone that lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and improves both mood and tolerance for pain. A recent Carnegie Mellon University study found that people who were happy and relaxed were also more resistant to the common cold than those who were anxious or depressed.
In addition, a 2005 Ohio State University study found that married couples who were positive and mutually supportive actually experienced faster healing of wounds than those in turmoil. A 2008 study found that happily married people have lower blood pressure than unmarried people, said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. Married people were also more likely to exercise, floss, drink less, and visit the doctor more frequently.
Of course, love is not all wine and roses. Unhappily married people had higher blood pressure than those with happy marriages or singles, Holt said, and according to Aron, lost love often raises the risk of suicide and depression among young people. A 2009 study found that divorcees are 20 percent more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer than their married counterparts.