Love is the best medicine!

15. February 2023
Posted in Resilience
15. February 2023 Rüdiger Beck

It’s no longer a secret that love has a strong influence on both our health and our well-being. The exhilarating feeling of being in love or the heartbeat before a date can trigger strong positive emotions and release endorphins – our body’s own “happiness hormones”. Many studies in recent decades have looked extensively at the impact of social relationships on health as well as well-being. We now know for certain that social relationships can play a protective role in physical health and psychological well-being (e.g., House et al., 1988; Kawachi and Berkman, 2001; Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010).  Most notably, a happy romantic relationship has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes (e.g., Holt-Lunstad et al., 2008). In particular, support from romantic partner(s) showed increased sustained improvements in health behaviors (Khan et al., 2013; Berli et al., 2016). Berli et al. (2021) examined whether providing social support in daily life was associated with better same-day health behaviors and well-being in a couple study of 99 romantic couples.

Results showed that providing support to one’s partner was associated with higher own physical activity, more own positive affect, less own negative affect, and more own relationship satisfaction (actor effects), over and above the effect of providing support on outcomes in the other partner (partner effects). This means that providing couples with daily social support is strongly associated with improved well-being not only at the personal level, but also at the relationship level.

Not currently living in a partnership? An intimate friendship and love of family can also have a positive impact on your health and well-being! How about a spontaneous meeting with a loved one?

#love #romanticpartner #support #family #friends

Berli, C., Schwaninger, P., & Scholz, U. (2021). “We Feel Good”: Daily support provision, health behavior, and well-being in romantic couples. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 622492.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., and Jones, B. Q. (2008). Is there something unique about marriage? The relative impact of marital status, relationship quality, and network social support on ambulatory blood pressure and mental health. Ann. Behav. Med. 35, 239–244. doi: 10.1007/s12160-008-9018-y

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., and Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS Med. 7:e1000316. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

House, J., Landis, K., and Umberson, D. (1988). Social relationships and health. Science 241, 540–545. doi: 10.1126/science.3399889

Kawachi, I., and Berkman, L. F. (2001). Social ties and mental health. J. Urban Health 78, 458–467. doi: 10.1093/jurban/78.3.458