What does love have to do with your health?
It’s Valentine’s Day. Let’s talk about love. Red hearts, roses and chocolates! We may think of the heart as the source of love and romance, but researchers tell us otherwise. These emotions, they say, come from ‘the thinker’ – our brain. It’s the source of chemicals or hormones that control our body like an invisible electrical wiring system. It’s called ‘emotional biochemistry’.
On researching emotional biochemistry, this is what I found on the net. It’s written by Pilar Gerasimo journalist, social explorer, podcaster, and self-proclaimed Healthy Deviant. Read her blog: https://pilargerasimo.com/
“Like it or not, emotions share some very real biochemical links with your nervous, endocrine, immune and digestive systems. Isn’t it time you learned something about how your body responds to what you feel—and vice versa?
Thanks to new imaging technologies, research scientists have now been able to demonstrate how thoughts and emotions cause distinct neuron-firing patterns within various parts of the brain. They can also observe how these patterns coincide with chemical releases and reactions throughout the body.”
In other words, emotions affect our health – and love is one that we can’t live without. This reminded me of my student-nursing days when I was working at the Children’s Hospital.
One little patient had nothing physically wrong with him, but was diagnosed as a ‘failure to thrive’ and was behind in his developmental milestones, unresponsive to stimulation and had ‘flat-head syndrome’ because he was never picked up, played with or loved. Social workers had found this neglected baby in a brothel, and his treatment plan was to play, stimulate and love him. It took months for this baby boy to recover ‘lost time’, but it was very rewarding watching him respond to love. He recovered sufficiently to be sent to a loving family for foster care.
According to the Greek translation of the word love, there are many types:
Philia is affectionate love – the love you have for a friend
Ludus is uncommitted, playful love – like flirting and your first-love
Pragma is long-lasting, enduring love – a mature love that older married couples enjoy after many stormy years together
Philautic love is loving yourself in spite of personal setbacks
Agape is unconditional love
Eros, the Greek god of fertility, is sexual love.
“Hooked” by Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush is an interesting book about love, sex and the brain. Here is a short extract:
“In a relationship of true love and long-term commitment, sex takes its appropriate place – not at the centre of the relationship, but as one of the natural outcomes of the healthy connectedness of two people. Sex will then be a catalyst to the full, healthy, long-term committed relationship it strengthens.”
Love is what makes us human. Love overrides mistakes and imperfections. It forgives and forgets past hurts. Love is the link in a chain that keeps a family together. The ‘greatest book ever written’ summarises love like this: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER ENDS.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8.
Celebrate the gift of Love today!
This month’s recommended blogger is Clint Edwards – the author of the humorous book on parenting This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things and No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Read what he has to say about Valentines Day. I highly recommend you follow his advice!