Do you recall going a little bit crazy when you have fallen in love… such as obsessively checking for a new text or email every five seconds? Apparently the phrase madly in love is quite apt as the brain chemistry of ‘being in love’ temporarily mimics the brain chemistry similar to that of mental illness.
Falling in love unleashes a potent cocktail of high adrenalin levels (flight or fight hormone) as well as surges of phenethylamine (the body's natural amphetamine), dopamine (which triggers the brain's reward and pleasure centers), and oxytocin (the love, trust, cuddling hormone). It’s no wonder we find love such an intoxicating and thrilling ride!
What is more reassuring is that if your new romance survives the first flush of craziness to become an enduring loving relationship then instead of being a health liability – love becomes a health boon.
Research is now proving what we already knew intuitively: loving relationships are linked to many positive health outcomes. Clinically some of the health findings include:
Lower stress levels, one study showed couples who were separated physically, had higher cortisol levels (long term stress hormones) and worse sleep than when they were together.
Apart from giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling, loving relationships are associated with lower blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease
Longer life expectancy – a loving relationship adds an average of five years to your life
Lower rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s
So this Valentines Day you now know to be even more appreciative of your loving relationships as they may well be the secret to a long and healthy life. However if you are going out on a hot date with a new love interest…beware the onset of feeling a little ‘love sick’.