February has long been considered the season of love. Romantic dinners, boxes of chocolate, and heart-shaped everything. But with the holiday season, many can lose sight of the true meaning of love… and why it’s the most important gift you can give or receive.
This year, I want to talk to you about love. Love is at the heart of everything that we do here. Love for my Braveheart, Ty. Love for my children. Love for my Savior. And love for each and every one of YOU. But love is more than a warm feeling; love truly has the power to heal.
The Healing Power of Love
Love can make us feel many things: happy, safe, accepted… but did you know that love also has the power to keep your body healthy? And I’m not talking about infatuation or the dopamine rush of a new relationship. I’m talking about true, enduring, unwavering love.
“There is very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures,” says Harry Reis, PhD, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships.
Most of the research in this area centers on marriage, but Reis believes many of the perks extend to other close relationships — for example, with a partner, parent, or friend. The key is to “feel connected to other people, feel respected and valued by other people, and feel a sense of belonging,” he says.
But people in loving relationships truly are healthier! Here are 10 ways that genuine love can improve your wellness.
1 | Love Reduces Stress
If love helps people cope with pain, what about other types of stress? Aron says there is evidence of a link between social support and stress management. “If you’re facing a stressor and you’ve got the support of someone who loves you, you can cope better,” he tells WebMD. If you lose your job, for example, it helps emotionally and financially if a partner is there to support you.
2 | Love Helps You Live Longer
Research has shown that those with solid relationships enjoy greater longevity than those without — making “’til death do us part” even more of a commitment. Studies suggest those long-life benefits are largely explained by consistent social and emotional support, better adherence to medical care, and having a partner who can hold you accountable to healthy lifestyle behaviors and steer you away from bad ones. Married couples have been found to have lower rates of substance abuse, lower blood pressure, and less depression than single peers.
3 | Love Helps Heal
The power of a positive relationship may make flesh wounds heal faster. Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center gave married couples blister wounds. The wounds healed nearly twice as fast in partners who interacted warmly compared with those who demonstrated a lot of hostility toward each other. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
4 | Love Lowers Blood Pressure
Giving and receiving love is good for your blood pressure. That’s the conclusion of a study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Researchers found that people with loving relationships had the best blood pressure. Participants that held lots of anger or animosity fared the worst.
Reis says this study illustrates a vital aspect of the way healthy, encouraging relationships affect health. “It’s marital quality and not the fact of marriage that makes a difference,” he tells WebMD. This supports the idea that other positive relationships can have similar benefits. In fact, singles with a strong social network also did well in the blood pressure study, though not as well as happily married people.
5 | Love Fights Depression
According to the Health and Human Services report, surrounding yourself with loving, supportive relationships reduces depression in both men and women. This finding is not surprising, Reis says, because social isolation is clearly linked to higher rates of depression. What’s interesting is that these relationships also contribute to a decline in heavy drinking and drug abuse, especially among young adults.
6 | Love Reduces Anxiety
When it comes to anxiety, a loving, stable relationship is superior to new romance. Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook used functional MRI (fMRI) scans to look at the brains of people in love. They compared passionate new couples with strongly connected long-term couples. Both groups showed activation in a part of the brain associated with intense love.
“It’s the dopamine-reward area, the same area that responds to cocaine or winning a lot of money,” says Arthur Aron, PhD, one of the study’s authors. But there were striking differences between the two groups in other parts of the brain. In long-term relationships, “you also have activation in the areas associated with bonding… and less activation in the area that produces anxiety.” The study was presented at the 2008 conference of the Society for Neuroscience.
7 | Love Drives Away Pain
The fMRI study reveals another big perk for long-term couples — more activation in the part of the brain that keeps pain under control. A CDC report complements this finding. In a study of more than 127,000 adults, married people were less likely to complain of headaches and back pain.
A small study published in Psychological Science adds to the intrigue. Researchers subjected 16 married women to the threat of an electric shock. When the women were holding their husband’s hand, they showed less response in the brain areas associated with stress. The happier the marriage, the greater the effect.
And this extends beyond the bonds of marriage. While we may not all be called to marriage (or may still be waiting on that perfect match), demonstrating and receiving love in relationships with friends, family, and coworkers is extremely important.
8 | Love Prevents the Common Cold
We’ve seen that loving relationships can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression — a fact that may give the immune system a boost. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who exhibit positive emotions are less likely to get sick after exposure to cold or flu viruses. The study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, compared people who were happy and calm with those who appeared anxious, hostile, or depressed.
9 | Love Keeps You Out of the Doctor’s Office
The Health and Human Services Department reviewed a bounty of studies on marriage and health. One of the report’s most striking findings is that married people have fewer doctor’s visits and shorter average hospital stays.
Another theory is that people in good relationships take better care of themselves. A loving community may keep you honest in your oral hygiene. A best friend could motivate you to eat more whole grains. Over time, these good habits translate to fewer illnesses.
10 | Love is Good for Your Heart (Really!)
Hearts may be the unofficial mascot for Valentine’s Day and all things romantic, but scientific evidence backs up the fact that love leads to a stronger and more robust heart.
Atherosclerosis—also known as “hardening of the arteries”—is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Over time, this plaque hardens and narrows your arteries which reduces the flow of blood and can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, and death. Atherosclerosis progresses more quickly when there are high levels of “pro-inflammatory cytokines” like interleukin-6 in the body.
Persistent negative emotions are believed to increase the risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by raising the levels of inflammatory causing chemicals in the body. Emotional stress causes a negative chain reaction in your body. If you’re angry, anxious, tense, frustrated, frightened, or depressed, your body’s natural response is to release stress hormones.
These hormones include cortisol and adrenaline. They prepare your body to deal with stress. They cause your heart to beat more rapidly and your blood vessels to narrow to help push blood to the center of the body. The hormones also increase your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
But I want to share with you the source of my love.
The True Source of Love
When Ty and I first met, it was better than a fairy tale. It was real. He truly is my Braveheart. Born out of our love was our first beautiful child, Brianna. As a young mother, I was given a deeper understanding of this Bible verse, “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) A mother’s love is so strong and beautiful that almost nothing can come between the mother and child. It is so strong that God compares His love for us as that of a mother with a nursing child. The bond is something that only the mother with a nursing baby can fully understand or appreciate.
After the birth of our first two children and the loss of 7 close family members, The Truth About Cancer was born, for you. Ever since losing so many family members to conventional cancer treatments and uncovering the grid of censorship that buried the solutions which may have saved their lives, we knew we had to get the life-saving solutions we did not have to you. Our love for each and every person reading this article drove us to create countless books, documentaries, and create a community where you could find the TRUTH about your health and wellbeing. So you wouldn’t have to suffer the way we did.In all the good we have been able to do, we cannot take credit for any of it. It is God Himself Who has called us to this work and gives us all we need to continue this work. It is His vast and amazing love that drives us.
“We love Him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
God’s love is eternal and unchanging. His love is perfect and complete, lacking nothing. His love is the source of our strength and all that is good. And it is His love that compels us to workday and night to bring you the truth and make this a better world for our children. It is God’s love for you that He has called us and uses us to give you the lifesaving truths under the banner – The Truth About Cancer, The Truth About Vaccines, and now CHARLíS, my new toxic-free skincare line.
Whatever the problem, whatever the difficulty, Jesus has the answer. And it is in Him that you will find true love and hope for eternity in heaven.
I encourage you as you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, as you celebrate love, look to the Author of all things, the Author of love, and put your trust and faith in Him. For God is love. He will be the One to straighten out the difficulties and troubles you face. He will be the One to fill your heart with purpose, hope, joy, and true love. And through Him, the road to heaven is paved through the blood of Chris shed for our sins at the cross.
Consider these Bible verses:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)
God not only paved a way back to the Father at the cross through our Lord Jesus and His death for us all, but Jesus Himself is currently getting our eternal home ready for us.
In closing, consider these words prayerfully taken from 1 John 4:7-21:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Why is love the greatest gift? Because love has paved the way back to heaven through the life and blood of our dear Savior Jesus. Do you know Him? I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read, starting with the Gospel of John. And then, read it again. And continue to read all the way through the New Testament, and then follow that up by reading the Old Testament. And as you do, ask God to reveal Himself and His eternal love to you. And we know that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
So keep asking, seeking, knocking until He fills you to overflow with His love. (Matthew 7:7, James 1:5) He is faithful and His love endures forever. (Psalm 136)
With much love,