Bad health leads to doctors. Doctors to health insurance. Health insurance to stress. Stress to bad health. Round and round we go. Nothing revs our ailing engines more than America’s five-star health careless system…a system riddled with fickle coverage loopholes, high premium sinkholes, deep deductible manholes, and pre-existing condition hellholes. Notice the common denominator? All holes leading to the big daddy…the health insurance Black Hole! We pull money from our asshole, throw it down the insurance black hole, and end up digging our own financial hole. The holes are many, and regardless of our tap dancing talent, we fall in repeatedly. When faced with failing health, we’re forced to take a crash course in the crooked ways of our greedy private insurer’s coverage plan. If we weren’t sick before, we are now. If only we could fund our ever-rising insurance premiums with the money our sue happy lawyers won on our behalf for the emotional suffering inflicted by the complications of “our policy.” You know…give them a taste of their own “money.” Tell them where they can stick “our policy.” If only we had a choice! We may not have a choice when it comes to going to the doctor, but we may have a better health care plan already in place that can help us avoid the doctor…one free of loopholes, sinkholes, manholes, and hellholes…one secured by our better half. A happy marriage? Could it be that Dr. Love is our best insurance policy? That marriage actually promotes our health?
All experts agree…YES! A happy heart is a healthy heart! Countless studies confirm that a happy marriage helps keep our bodies healthier and private insurers poorer. But scientists say marriage itself isn’t the key. That it’s the relationship or commitment — not the institution — that keeps us healthier. A matter of how close we are as a couple. The intimacy we share, rather than the space. A disconnected, stressful marriage is, in fact, worse for the heart than single or divorced life. Stress is the bearer of bad health. It manifests itself physically via high blood pressure, low immune system, depression, gastrointestinal problems, rashes, or emotional disorders like anxiety. And let’s face it…avoiding daily stress is about as easy as making actual eye contact with Jessica Rabbit. Her eye color is as much a mystery to us as the elusive stress-free day. Marriage itself can create extra stress, but a stable loving connection with our sweetie combats that psychological stress and keeps it from physically running amuck in our bodies. How? L.O.V.E. Love lowers the stress hormone, cortisol…less stress translates into a happy heart. It boosts our immune system and reduces heart disease. Those who are happily married are healthier, less stressed, and live longer than those unhappily married, divorced, or single. The happier the marriage, the healthier the spouses. The more hostile the relationship, the weaker the immune system. When stress takes over, our body falls apart. But when love is the artist, it’s a “work of heart.”
Psychologist John Gottman says the benefits of a happy marriage are “better health, more resistance to infection, fewer infections, and a reduced likelihood of dying from cancer, from heart disease, from all major killers.” And those benefits are consistent across age, race, education, and income groups. Love is a universal band-aid.
Interestingly, for singles or unhappily married adults, having a network of supportive friends didn’t improve health. Only when the heart is involved…when we have that unconditional bond of love…only then does it reduce our stress hormones and promote better health. What does that mean? Marriage is all heart! 🙂 When our heart is happy, our bodies reap the benefits. When our heart is unhappy, our bodies pay up…as do our wallets. The sicker we are, the more insurance costs…until eventually, we’re “too sick” to cover. Yes, apparently there’s only so much “sick” the private insurance companies will tolerate. Health coverage only for the healthy? Hmmm, corporate sarcasm perhaps?
Some scientists speculate that the reason we’re in better physical health when in a happy committed relationship is that our spouse inspires us to drink less, smoke less, get regular health checkups, and have better nutritional intake. Well, isn’t that obvious? But there’s more to it than that, right? Even infants thrive with loving skin-on-skin, heart-to-heart contact and deteriorate without it. Maybe everything begins and ends with the heart. Our heart thirsts for a connection, a bond, an unconditional love. When that thirst is quenched, our bodies thrive. But when that thirst is denied, we deteriorate. We need love like we need water. Without that bonded love to ground us, we fry when handling life’s electric stress.
Our heart/body relationship seems to be like any other…surviving on the give and take. A loving bond gives the heart what it needs. The heart reciprocates, lowers stress, and keeps the body healthier. Give and take. The heart may regulate the physical body, but love regulates the heart.
So, next time you’re stressing over the latest in “hellthcare,” or getting one too many doses of daily stress…slow down. Find your better half. Cuddle, connect, and let love medicate you. Look into your sweetie’s eyes, and say, “Do you need a checkup? Possibly an XXX-ray?”
“Lay back…the doctor is in.” 😉
“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” ~ Mother Teresa