New studies show that the mind has many influences on the body and that your relationships do affect your immune system.

It is well known that people who have many friends and family live longer than loners. Heart attack victims live longer if they have emotional support than those without.  Because your closest relationships matter the most for your health it makes sense that fighting with your mate can weaken the immune systems of couples. Research continues, but the evidence is showing that the body uses states of mind, like close relationships,  into biological advantages that improve health, especially in the immune system and cardiovascular system.

Studies suggest that a friendly intimacy protects the immune system from stress, so consider what fighting does. How couples handle their disagreements affect their immune system. The more hostile the argument is the harder it is on your immune system, The opposite is also true.  Good relationships protect the immune system from stress. The cardiovascular studies show a similar story.  Stressful situations and those that tend to be more antagonistic develop a blockage in their arteries at twice the rate that the peaceful ones.  Human beings who are habitually hostile, cynical, and mistrustful are at greatest risk for developing and dying of heart disease.  These traits cause blood pressure to rise. When couples learn fair fighting skills, blood pressure is lowered.

All of the studies show a strong link on how relationships affect our health.  They have uncovered a strong link between the number and quality of relationships people have and how long they lived.  The mortality data show that people with few friends and family have a death rate of two to four times greater than those with a rich personal network.  It is not the number of relationships that are protective so much as what they mean to a person. What is most helpful is the belief your friends and family can help in concrete ways. Its the perception, not the numbers that count.


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