It’s that time of year, when love really does seem to be all around. And I’m embracing it, because love really is pretty wonderful.
So today I’m giving you 7 amazing facts about love to help you get in the Valentine’s day spirit.
1. Your heart rate can synchronise with your partner’s
People often talk about being in sync with their partner, and apparently this can quite literally be true.
A small study carried out by Ferrer and Helm in 2012 found that when couples gazed calmly into each other’s eyes for three minutes their heart rates changed so that they were in sync.
2. Hugging a loved one can reduce pain
I’ve written before about the wonders of Oxytocin and how it can make us feel better. This amazing hormone is produced when we hug our loved ones, and according to research carried out in America it can really help reduce pain.
The researchers gave patients with headaches a dose of oxytocin as a nasal spray, and found that 50% of the patients reported their headache pain was half as bad as a result. Not bad, considering only 11% of patients who were given a placebo reported their pain was reduced after four hours.
So next time you have a headache, try having a good cuddle rather than reaching for some tablets.
3. Looking at a photo of them can also reduce pain
If you’re in pain and your partner’s not around to give you a hug, then try just looking at a photo of them instead.
A study carried out at Stanford University found that participants felt a significant reduction in pain when looking at a photo of their partner, compared to when they looked at a photo of an acquaintance.
4. Love changes over time
If you’ve been with your partner for years you’ll know that things are different now from the way they were when you first got together. Researchers from the University of Pavia have found that the romantic love we feel at the start of a relationship, the kind that leaves you ever so slightly giddy, lasts about a year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, after that time couples move to a more stable, companionate love.
5. Love is a drug
Well, it acts just like one. When we fall in love our brains release chemicals and hormones that produce the same effect on us as taking Cocaine. The chemicals work quickly too; a study carried out at Syracuse University found that we can fall in love in as little as a fifth of a second.
6. You can feel happier by expressing gratitude to your loved ones
If you want a happiness boost, take a minute to phone someone you love and tell them how grateful you are for them and the things they’ve done for you in the past. Studies have shown that thinking about how thankful you are for them can make you feel a little bit happier, but actually phoning them up and telling them how grateful you are causes a significantly bigger jump in your own happiness.
7. Love is what matters the most
A pretty epic study was carried out over the course of 75 years that found that ultimately love is all that really matters in living a fulfilled life.
The Harvard Grant Study followed a group of 268 men for 75 years and collected data on various parts of their lives at regular intervals. One of their main findings at the end of the study was that love is key to a happy and fulfilling life.
The psychiatrist who directed the study, George Vaillant, wrote that there are two pillars of happiness, “One is love, the other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”
He felt that the most important finding from the study is that the only thing that really matters in life is love, and the relationships we form.
So there you have it, 7 pretty amazing facts about love.
And it’s not all about the love you might have as part of a couple. The love you feel for your child, or your best friend, is just as powerful. It’s all about connection more than anything else.