Love in mind
When life gets hard what do you do? Do you indulge yourself in a good old bout of sloppy, wallowing, â€œwoe-is-meâ€ blues? Do you seek the distraction of a contrived television show where contestants go through the emotional highs and lows of having their bed-making skills assessed by a panel of judges including guest judge Dannii Whoisshe? Do you resolutely charge head on into the grist of the problem seeking resolution by hook or by crook? There are many ways to deal with lifeâ€™s hard times, some more productive than others, but new research shows that if you are feeling low a very useful thing to do might just be to think of the one you love.
This was discovered very simply by researchers who asked subjects to either think about their current romantic partner or to think about a friend of the opposite sex. They took blood tests before and after the â€œthinkingâ€ sessions and also assessed the mood of the subjects.
What they found was that there was a short term rise in blood glucose and in positive mood when subjects thought about their romantic partner but not when they thought about a friend.
We already know from previous research that thinking about a loved one promotes release of cortisol, a stress hormone. However, these researchers say that by showing an increase in blood glucose and positive mood they have illustrated that thoughts of loved induce â€œeustressâ€, a good or euphoric stress that is diametrically opposed to â€œbad stressâ€.
Interestingly, the researchers found that these eustress effects on blood sugar and mood existed both in those newly in love and those who had been together for more than six months. No wonder we say that love is â€œsweetâ€.