UPDATED: Feb 25, 2020
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Perhaps John Lennon was right and really, all we need is love. The late Beatles musician wrote ‘There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done’, with love that is. So living to the ripe old age of 100 or beyond might just be because of love, and the relationships that typically result from it. There are many ways love may encourage a long, happy life.
1. Brain Chemicals
You might get a warm sensation in your heart, have a tingling or giddy feeling when you see your loved one or have an intense desire to be near the object of your affection. Physiologically, a lot is happening in our brains as a result of love.
Helen Fisher, PhD (http://www.helenfisher.com/articles.html) studies all aspects of love, and she has concluded that attraction produces elevated brain levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, as well as a decreased activity of serotonin. She found the feeling of attachment is associated with the brain chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin. So why get from a doctor what love can give you for free?
We all know how a hug or massage can make us feel instantly better. This is due to the rush of endorphins that are released upon physical contact with another person. Having a loved one near means you can increase physical contact and endorphin release any time you are feeling down.
One perk of love (in most cases) is marriage or domestic partnership. Having a long-term partner means there will always be someone to talk with and to help shoulder life’s burdens. Loneliness is a big risk factor for depression, and having a significant other will help prevent evenings spent alone with only the television for company.
4. Good Nagging
People in long term relationships tend to feel a sense of obligation to take care of their partner. Some might call this ‘nagging’, but in some cases it can be a good thing! Men whose significant others nag them to eat better, exercise, lay off the alcohol and visit the doctor regularly, generally make more of an effort to stay healthy than other men. And let’s not forget about the risky behavior that’s often thwarted by your partner. Your better half may not quite agree with bungee jumping and motorcycle racing, thus possibly keeping you alive and well longer.
5. Purpose in Life
Having someone to love generally means having someone to take care of, which creates a purpose in life. Having a sense of purpose, especially in old age, is very important for longevity. Research done at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago showed having a sense of purpose in life dramatically decreased the likelihood of dying over the 3-year period of the study. The results showed up to a 50 percent less likelihood as those with a lower sense of purpose in life!
Making sure your days are filled with love might just add a few extra happy and healthy years to your life. And, of course, don’t forget the benefits you’ll reap from your improved health in the form of lower term life insurance premiums.
How has love impacted your life?