With Valentine’s Day around the corner, doctors in the national capital say love is not just good for one’s social life but also has a positive effect on a person’s health. According to doctors, love can keep you healthy mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. ‘Spending time with those you love has an extremely positive effect on health and can cut the risk of an early death to half,’ says Sunil Mittal, psychiatrist and director of Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences. ‘Research shows that people in loving relationships have a lower death rate than single people, even people who have unhealthy lifestyles tend to live longer than those who lack social and community support. The study attributes a person’s longer lifespan to high self-esteem due to his or her partner’s positive feedback, which lowers the chances of depression,’ he said.
According to Mittal, studies also showed that people will often adopt safer behaviours when they are coupled up. ‘For example, a person is less likely to risk his or her life with smoking, binge drinking, reckless driving or dangerous eating habits if a loved one is depending on him or her,’ he said. Sameer Kalani, psychiatrist and psychotherapist and coordinator of child and adolescent mental health services, Cosmos Hospitals, said love helps to ‘vaccinate’ one against anxiety. ‘Loving and being loved helps to vaccinate you against anxiety. When you are in love the brain produces a chemical called dopamine, a feel-good stimulant that is responsible for feelings of bliss, optimism and patience,’ Kalani said. ‘Infatuated people also produce a surplus of a chemical called oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This endorphin spreads a warm, internal flutter throughout the body when it is released during touch or physical intimacy,’ he added. Mittal added that people in healthy relationships tend to be more confident in all areas of their life. It has been proven that getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women.