Body Blog: Love and Health

With our favorite Black Friday Thanksgiving holiday gone, we are officially entering the holiday season. For some, this means testing your strength when it comes to pushing away another cup of peppermint hot chocolate mocha frap latte machiatto with extra whipped cream. For others, it’s another opportunity to cuddle up in front of a fire (or an MTV reality show marathon) with a special somebody.

And it turns out, that whole “cuddling” thing might be better for all of us than a trip to the gym or a daily vitamin.

I’ve recently come across tons of articles telling us how important love is. MSN even cites a University of Pittsburgh study that showed women who were in a healthy marriage had lower risks for cardiovascular disease. Another study states that in a good relationship, participants were shown to have less anxiety, lower blood pressure and even a longer life. One of my favorite facts found on U.S. News says that when you’re in a happy relationship, you produce less of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Having less cortisol is better because this hormone works against the immune system, making you more prone to sickness and colds!

Yes, being in love prevents sickness.

But for all of us single ladies who may not have a love prospect to smooch under the mistletoe, don’t think we’re at any disadvantage. Although these studies focus on married couples, I think the overall message is this: as long as you are happy, you can be healthy.

Love comes in many forms and even if you don’t have yourself a honey bunny on a farm, you’ve got plenty of people in your life to love. Yes, your BFFs and your family can keep you healthy too. This season, I challenge you to focus on these more long term relationships. Forget about trying to find someone to kiss as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve and embrace the love you’ve already got in your life: the people who have been around you since day one (as opposed to the random guy who might not make it past 8am on January 1st). These are the people that can make us all healthy and happy.

As these studies have shown, love makes you feel awesome. Whether it’s with one person or with a big group of friends, love makes the world go round! And it keeps you healthier as it turns. But, who needs an article to tell you how great love feels? You don’t need a PhD to know that being in a great relationship makes you happy, bubbly and warm n’ fuzzy inside.

Instead of worrying about which hometown ex you’re going to snag for the holidays (because the stress will literally make you sick), focus on how much fun it’s going to not worry about any of that. Hit the mall with your  friends, snuggle up on the couch for some QT with the family, have a holiday cookie exchange with your high school besties – just spend time with the people you love.

You’ll feel better. Science says so!

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