How a happy relationship can help your health

How a happy relationship can help your health

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Living together in a relationship promotes health

Scientific research has shown that living together in a relationship in general and in a marriage in particular can have positive health effects.

A relationship or marriage can have a variety of health effects for partners. Numerous studies have shown this. For example, single people have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and their mortality rate is also higher.

Higher likelihood of a single heart attack

As the American Heart Association (AHA) writes in a recent statement, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2017 found that unmarried people with heart disease were 52 percent more likely to have a heart attack or heart disease after almost four years cardiovascular problems die as married cardiac patients.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, the overall mortality rate for married people is lower than for those who have never been married, divorced, or widowed.

Positive impact on blood sugar levels

According to the AHA, imaging studies show that viewing images of your beloved partner activates brain regions that are related to the regulation of mood and pain. Thinking about a partner can also increase energy by positively influencing blood sugar levels.

Calm good relationships

The Harvard Study of Adult Development found, among other things, that stable middle-aged relationships are a better predictor of a healthy and happy life 30 years later than cholesterol levels.

Director of Studies Dr. Robert Waldinger said the clearest message from the study is: “Good relationships make us happier and healthier. Point."

But how does the positive impact come about? According to Waldinger, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, one theory says that good relationships calm people down when they're anxious or angry.

Stress hormones released at such moments can be harmful. But: “If you have a really bad day and something bad happens and you can go home and talk to someone about it, you can almost literally feel your body relax while talking about what was uncomfortable. Especially if you have someone who listens well and maybe says a few encouraging things, ”said the expert.

Encourage a healthier life

Studies have shown that physical intimacy such as holding hands or hugging can lower stress hormone levels.

But relationships don't just help regulate stress, said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neurosciences at Brigham Young University in Utah. A supportive partner can encourage you to live a healthier life - for example, better training or eating, or seeing a doctor when one is needed.

The scientist led a groundbreaking analysis that was published in 2010 in the journal "PLOS Medicine" and examined data from 148 studies with more than 300,000 people.

It showed that those with the strongest social relationships were 50 percent more likely to be alive at the end of the study period than those without such ties.

Other studies by Holt-Lunstad focused on the health effects of marriage. It was found that quality counts.

The research showed that people in happy marriages had lower blood pressure than people who were not married. But people in strained marriages fared worse than individuals.

Influence on physical well-being and heart health

Trust and security are elements of a positive relationship, said Holt-Lunstad.

Waldinger pointed out that a relationship does not have to be perfect to have health benefits. This probably has to do with knowing that someone "strengthens your back".

According to the expert, this does not have to be a marital or lifelong relationship. "It could be someone you know will be there when you need it."

A "foundation of affection" appears to be crucial for good, stable relationships, he said. For example, in one of his earlier studies, he found that angry disputes did not lead to failed marriages as long as the relationship was characterized by affection.

But not all happy marriages are the same, said Waldinger. “I suspect it's more about compatibility than anything else. You know, some people in relationships want a lot of contact and a lot of exchange and emotional intimacy, and other people don't want that much at all. And one is no better than the other. "

Holt-Lunstad said more people need to understand that relationships have a huge impact on physical wellbeing, especially when it comes to heart health.

People are used to hearing news about the importance of exercise and non-smoking, she said. "We have to take our relationships just as seriously." (Ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • American Heart Association (AHA): How a happy relationship can help your health, (Access: 08.02.2020), American Heart Association (AHA)
  • William M. Schultz, Salim S. Hayek, Ayman Samman Tahhan, Yi ‐ An Ko, Pratik Sandesara, Mosaab Awad, Kareem H. Mohammed, Keyur Patel, Michael Yuan, Shuai Zheng, Matthew L. Topel, Joy Hartsfield, Ravila Bhimani, Tina Varghese, Jonathan H. Kim, Leslee Shaw, Peter Wilson, Viola Vaccarino, and Arshed A. Quyyumi: Marital Status and Outcomes in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease; in: Journal of the American Heart Association, (published: December 20, 2017), Journal of the American Heart Association
  • National Center for Health Statistics: Mortality Among Adults Aged 25 and Over by Marital Status: United States, 2010-2017, (accessed: February 8, 2020), National Center for Health Statistics
  • Harvard Medical School: Harvard Study of Adult Development, (accessed: February 8, 2020), Harvard Study of Adult Development
  • Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, J. Bradley Layton: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review; in: PLOS Medicine, (published: 07/27/2010), PLOS Medicine

Video: 4 Text Messages to Save Your Marriage (June 2022).


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