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What is Love and how does it Affect our Body?

What is “love”? Chances are your definition is different than mine, and may be different than the people you “love”.

I think we can all agree, it’s not a straightforward answer, and it means different things to different people.

Maybe it can’t truly be defined by words, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to try…


What Is Love?

The Oxford Definition…

Where do you look up definitions of the word? The Oxford Dictionary seems like a good place to start. What I found is (“Definition of love in English by Oxford Dictionaries,” n.d.):

“Noun: Love – an intense feeling of deep affection.”

From there, I also looked up affection (“Definition of affection in English by Oxford Dictionaries,” n.d.):

“Noun: Affection: A gentle feeling of fondness or liking.”

It sounds like based on the Oxford Dictionary, love is an intense and deep feeling of fondness or liking.


The Ancient Greek Definition

After a bit of research, ancient Greek definitions started popping up. They distinguished “love” in at least seven different words (Catron, 2014):

  • Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family.
  • Philia: the love that you have for friends.
  • Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)
  • Agape: unconditional love or divine love
  • Ludus: playful love, like childish love or flirting.
  • Pragma: long-standing love. The love in a married couple.
  • Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)

I like the ancient Greek definition of love, as it acknowledges different types of affection, and who it can be directed towards.

Trying to pinpoint what love is, will certainly pull us down a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of. Instead of a blog article, this would become a textbook.

For now, let’s settle with the ancient Greek definition, and take a look at how love affects our body.

“Love is when you choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best.” – Wintley Phipps


How Love Affects Your Body

I think we can all agree that love is a pretty important emotion, and that we need it to be a functional human being. But that feeling of love, also has physical impacts on our body.


The Love Hormone

Oxytocin is known as the love hormone (Lee, Macbeth, Pagani, & Young, 2009). It’s involved in childbirth, breastfeeding, and is also called the “cuddle hormone”. That’s because it’s released when we give/receive a hug, cuddle with another person, or even have an orgasm. In short, when we’re physically bonding with another person.

This love hormone

  • diminishes stress,
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces anxiety
  • boosts self-esteem
  • helps us to avoid and fight depression

Sounds like some pretty good reasons to allow yourself some looove!


Pain Relief

Here is another reason to hug; it can release your pain.

Studies have shown that the love hormone (oxytocin) gets released during a 10-20 second hug, and can effectively fight pain like headaches (Younger, Aron, Parke, Chatterjee, & Mackey, 2010).

What’s even more interesting, is looking at a photograph of your loved one can increase  your endurance and reduce your pain (Younger et al., 2010). It could be when we look at a loved one, we get a pleasant distraction from pain.


Enhances Your Immune System

Want to know something else? Love can make you stronger.

Everything from holding hands to sexual activity can increase your production of endorphins. In turn, it can also enhance your immune system.


Better Sleep

Love can make you rest better at night. Why? The release of love hormones (oxytocin and endorphins) prevent the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Sex has also been scientifically proven to help promote a good night’s sleep (Paul, Turek, & Kryger, 2008).


How Food Affects Love

As you know by now, hormones play a big part in the emotion called love. In fact, hormones play a crucial part in any emotion you experience.

Food is one of the things that can affect our hormonal production.

This is from research done by Clin Biochem (Marks, 1985):

“Food can affect the production and secretion of hormones by direct actions on the gut, by nervous reflexes, through changes in the concentration of various metabolites in the blood, or secondary to changes in circulating gut hormone levels.”

So what you eat can have a direct effect on your hormonal production — that again can affect your love life.

And if you are struggling with having fun with your partner because you have low energy or a bad relationship with food, maybe it’s time for a change?

I know that changing your eating habits is difficult, especially alone. So we, here at WildFit, designed the 14 Day Food Reset program where you can learn to make better food decisions.

You do this as part of a group because we believe that food is a team sport.

Being able to make better food decisions can improve your energy and confidence. Your partner will probably like that very much.

Our next 14 Day Reset program starts on February 25th. 

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