Despite all the hype and commercialism, it’s actually good for you to get involved with Valentine’s Day. Even if you aren’t married, or even part of a romantic relationship, giving love and showing love to someone such as a parent, a child, or a friend, dramatically improves your health.
The more people you love, the better. Just make sure, however, that you are giving love, not just on the receiving end.
Research shows married people live an average of five years longer than those who aren’t. They also have lower rates of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments than their single counterparts.
The key here isn’t the wedding band, however, it’s being socially engaged. Therefore, if you are not married or in a romantic relationship you can still get the health benefits of being so just by connecting with other people.
So try very hard to avoid being isolated and lonely. In other words, get involved in the lives of other people. This is best accomplished by giving instead of focusing on getting, which, by the way, is what the Bible teaches. Once again, God’s commandments produce not only spiritual health, but also physical health.
Being in love produces a freer flow of blood to the brain, so the brain can regulate the rest of our body far more effectively. Being in love causes your blood vessels to relax so blood flows exactly where it’s needed in your body and brings the right chemicals, the right nutrients to the proper destinations. In short, being in love is the opposite of stress, and we all know that stress is one of the greatest enemies of good health.
Reduced stress means a stronger immune system, so people in love are less likely to get a cold or the flu. But if they do, they recover faster. People with loving relationships are more likely to survive a life-threatening illness and are more likely to exercise, floss, drink less alcohol, and get regular health screenings. They have lower blood pressure.
But don’t worry if you’re not in a relationship. Remember, there are lots of different kinds of committed love. The most important love, even more than marriage, is your love of God. Jesus even pointed that out when asked what was the greatest commandment. He said the greatest commandment is to love God. Then he said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor.
So out of the mouth of our Savior we are comforted to know that we can have, and never lose, the greatest most important love of all, love of God. Foster that relationship, time spent in God’s word, time spent in prayer, and time spent with other believers, and you’ll see the health benefits abound.
If you are feeling un-loved, the greatest cure for that is to get connected. Volunteer at church or in your community. Do things for other people. Simply look for people who have it worse off than you do, people who need something, such as tutoring, coaching, help of some sort.
Loving relationships can even be found with animals. Studies show that owning a dog or cat reduces a person’s stress level and people with pets are less likely to suffer a heart attack.
The bottom line is this: humans are not meant to live isolated lives. If you make the effort to build loving relationships, emphasizing giving, not getting, you’ll be happier and healthier.