The Importance Of Being Shot With Cupid’s Arrow…Feb 3rd, 2010 | Category: Recent Articles
Have you ever been shot by Cupid’s arrow? In other words… have you ever been in love? Stupid question? Maybe. But here’s something about Cupid’s arrow that is far from “stupid.” For example, did you know that research has shown being in love has consequences for your health and well-being? REAL consequences – not just superficial feelings. In fact, a study published in the Neuroendocrinol Lett 2005; 26(3):264–267: “Love and pleasure carry the ability to heal or facilitate beneficial motivation and behavior, in addition to ensuring survival of individuals and their species. After all, love is a joyful, yet useful, activity that encompasses wellness and feelings of well-being – a rather holistic and integrative medical procedure! Positive emotions, compassion and happiness, help us to feel better, particularly in stress, and further improve bodily functions: Love, compassion and joy make our immune system function better and help to battle diseases. Furthermore, current research on these topics made the wellness concept evolve from a sometimes esoteric or non-scientific background and become a major focus of progressive medical science.”
How Does All This Happen?
There is a hormone in your body called oxytocin. It is produced in your brain and some is released into your bloodstream, but it is believed most stays in the brain. Scientists say oxytocin works through the dopamine reward system and makes us feel good when we are around people we care deeply about or even our pets. Dopamine is a brain chemical important in how we perceive pleasure. If the dopamine system is not functioning correctly, it can lead to depression and even mental illness. Oxytocin is not just about feeling good. It lowers levels of stress hormones in the body, reduces blood pressure, increases tolerance for pain and might even speed up the time it takes wounds to heal.
And, get this:
It has actually been linked to how much we trust others… playing an important role in all of our relationships. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found couples who have a more positive relationship have higher levels of oxytocin, and couples with more frequent physical contact (like handholding and hugging) have the highest levels of oxytocin. What does all this mean? It seems obvious a shot from Cupid’s bow cannot only lead to one of the most wonderful feelings in the entire world – it might also lead to a healthier, longer life.
What Is Love?
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love,” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” ~ St. Augustine