The Positive Effects of Love on Mental Health

 Love has been defined in various ways. From a deep feeling of affection, to the embodiment of virtues that always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. For centuries, humans have found ways to celebrate the existence of love.In the book A General Theory of Love (2001), a trio of psychiatry professors describe it in the following way: “Our nervous systems are not separate or self-contained; beginning in earliest childhood, the areas of our brain identified as the limbic system is affected by those closet to us and synchronizes with them in a way that has profound implications for personality and lifelong emotional health.”Interestingly, we can actually see evidence of these connections when we explore research in the areas related to stress management and depression.Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, and social isolation is clearly linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women. Research in the areas of physical health has shown that high levels of social support may actually improve prognosis in such conditions as cancer. Mahatma Ghandi once wrote, “Where there is love there is life.” We are all social creatures. Therefore, let us be mindful to evaluate our level of social connectedness, and always encourage them to develop and nurture stable and loving relationships.