Love Improves Health and Longevity

Research on Love and Health

Research on love and relationships show that engaging in deep and calming love in marriage helps us to:

Have a higher immunity system.
Lower rates of heart disease and other chronic illness.
Reduces anxiety.
Helps us live longer.
Allows us to manage stress longer.

The key aspects of health benefits occur when we are:

Fully open to receiving and giving love.
Giving and feeling supported by engaging in emotional intimacy and deep connectivity.
Soothed and inspired by interactions that facilitate growth and expand the heart.

Thus, platonic and altruistic love might also help benefit health just as romantic love does.

Yet, how many times have you found yourself hesitant to invest fully in expressing or receiving love? Often times we hold back because of:

Fears that we will be rejected.
Fears about being criticized.
Concerns that we somehow do not measure up to others’ expectations.
Insecurities that make us feel that others will not value us and reciprocate feelings.
Lack of energy to invest fully in giving to others or to receive fully.
Fears of losing love once we allow ourselves to feel it.

An expansive heart gives to others even in moments when it is not necessarily convenient to give or when one is not guaranteed that love will be returned. An expansive heart is one that is self aware and aligned with truths.

It is the act of openness and thoughtfulness that nourishes the heart in a selfless way, for when we take ego and fear out of the mix and express love from a space without agendas, our hearts and spirits stretch and grow in new ways.

While some researchers find a correlation between calm, loving marital relationships and higher levels of health, other researchers are considering the health benefits gained by individuals who are single, such as the Dalai Lama, who are engaging in deep altruistic love and connecting profoundly by giving selflessly to people.

Certainly, this kind of selfless love is also valuable in benefiting health-the act of creating spiritual communities and connecting intimately with others through altruistic acts creates significant physical and mental benefits.

Ester M. Sternberg, a researcher a research professor who authored The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (Freeman, 2001), concluded that altruistic expressions of love may:

Suppress disease activity.
Activate an immune response that is healthful.
Reduce stress and anxiety.
Reduce chronic pain (the sense of giving releases endorphins, chemicals in the body that block pain).
Improves mental outlook and energy levels.

The effects of altruism on a happy mood are well documented medically. Dr. Kathleen Hall, a world renowned expert in stress and founder of The Stress Institute, says that “Altruism creates a physiological responses or ‘helpers high’ that makes people feel stronger and more energetic and counters harmful effects of stress.”

Thus, expressing love altruistically may have as much of a health benefit as experiencing love in the context of longer term, married, romantic relationships.

How can we expand our heart energies and capacities to share love in ways that increase our health benefits?

(1) Engage in qi gong that is focused on energetically and spiritually opening the heart

The National Qi Gong Association’s free “Healing Wave” video online has a segment called “Open Heart Qi” that is very useful with movements that emphasize opening the heart center.

(2) Practice going out of your way to engage kind or loving behaviors. Any of us can say we are loving people, but do our actions truly reflect that? Are we willing to give love even when it is inconvenient or requires personal sacrifice?

Assess your behaviors of terms of how willing you are to invest in building loving relationships. Ask yourself:

When was the last time, I went out of my way to give special flowers for someone to simply bring joy?
When have I last taken time to prepare a special nourishing meal for someone?
When did I last plan an excursion to uplift someone’s spirit?
When did I actively seek to build new loving relationships?

Often times we are willing to do what is convenient and comfortable for us to express love, but the deeper benefits of stretching the heart come from those moments that are willing to go that extra mile to extend ourselves.

(3) Actively surround yourself with other loving people who are natural givers, and who enjoy investing love into other people.

When we surround ourselves with such people, there is a synergy that occurs from the dynamic of love going back and forth-it is this synergy that researchers are studying in married couples and concluding that such interactions are beneficial to health-but remember, that synergy can also occur among people who are single and expressing love.

How Do You Pray For Health? Have You Forgotten it is Given Even Before You Ask?

Are you ill, do you pray for God to intervene and restore your health, do you have faith in Him, do you believe that all things are given freely because of Him? All things?

The health you desire is given, so when you ask for health, don’t you think you are expressing diminished faith in the fact that it is already given? Then what is to be done? What can be prayed about?

If you have faith of a mustard seed, that you have health, then you will have health. Do not ask for that which you think you do not have, for you have all within you. The faith of a mustard seed is the calm knowing it was never lacking in the first place. You need ask for nothing for it is given unto you before you ask. Your father knows of your needs.

With that bit of faith (the firmament) then, what is to be done? You must feel joy, such pure joy and gratitude. You must never stop expressing gratitude for your glorious health. Even as you are mired in sickness, you must feel the gratitude for every little thing that has come into your life and keep the gratitude flowing from you. It was given unto you from a Father who would deny you nothing; who gives His kingdom to those that know that it is already there within them and who are so grateful and joyful. You only need to accept it – to believe. Freewill is our choice to believe the Truth or to erroneously accept an illusion.

When you feel the smallest spark of health, grab it, nurture it, feed it with love and gratitude, fan that spark with joy until it becomes an all consuming flame of the greatest health. Thank God for this was given long before you asked. He knows you only forgot for a moment who you really are and of the gifts which He lovingly bestowed on you.

If nothing is withheld from you, then how do you pray? You must begin by giving thanks for all that you have, continue expressing gratitude for the perfection you are and end with gratitude for His unconditional Love and feel it and express it with every fiber of your being; that is prayer in my world. Prayer is the expression of thanks for all that we are; not asking for an illusion that we believe we are lacking.

Create Great Thoughts – With No Regard to Logic.

Kevin is a business man, writer and poet in Saskatchewan. He is nearing completion of a book on self help, mind power and philosophy. He knows first hand the power of our human thought/feeling processes. His website will be set up in the near future