What's Love Got to Do With It? How Romance and Relationships Keep You Healthy
If You're...Stuck in a Bad Relationship
1. Check your symptoms. Stomachaches, headaches, insomnia, and malaise may all be signs that you're in an unhealthy relationship. "Our body sometimes talks to us before our mind does," says Krockover. "When people aren't happy, they sometimes somatize,"expressing emotional distress in bodily symptoms. If you have physical complaints, see a doctor first, but if there's no obvious cause, look carefully at your love life.
2. Get help or get out. If your relationship is making you miserable or your partner is abusive, it will take a toll on your health. Anger and frustration raise stress-hormone levels. "Hostility can create an environment more conducive to heart attack," says Mehmet Oz, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. "Heart vessels close or spasm. Platelets become even stickier and close up arteries." Talk to a good friend or a counselor about how best to get out of the situation. If your partner is violent, your life may be at risk.
Remember you have a choice. You may feel stuck—trapped in a bad relationship, grieving over a divorce, miserably and interminably single—but it is in your power, and your best health interest, to choose joy. Okay, so you can't find romance. Or your soul mate doesn't feel the same way about you. But you can put yourself in the path of happiness. You can fall in love with life.
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