Falling In Love Has An Unexpected Effect On Your Blood Pressure

If you've got butterflies in your stomach and stars in your eyes, you may be doing your blood pressure a favor. Falling in love affects our bodies in many ways. Rather than falling, however, it tends to feel more like flying. The release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and noradrenaline leaves us reeling with sensations of euphoria, energy, and passion, according to experts at the University of Wollongong Australia. New love also suppresses brain activity associated with negative emotional states. No wonder you're on cloud nine!

Falling in love can also affect our blood pressure. The National Institute on Aging explains that a systolic blood pressure below 120 and a diastolic blood pressure below 80 are considered healthy blood pressure readings for adults. However, many people across the country are affected by hypertension or high blood pressure. Defined as a systolic blood pressure reading exceeding 130 or a diastolic blood pressure above 80, untreated hypertension can increase one's risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more. Medication and lifestyle changes are the two most important treatment methods a person should adhere to when it comes to managing high blood pressure. However, research shows that falling in love may offer some benefits, too.

Being in love reduces stress

Falling in love appears to be good for the heart — and not just in a metaphorical sense. In fact, marriage is said to cut a person's risk of heart disease-related death in half (via Luminis Health). "One theory explains this finding by citing improved function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions like heart rate, in people who are married or in love," Dr. Baran Kilical, a cardiologist at Anne Arundel Medical Center, told Luminis Health's The Beacon. In essence, being smitten like a kitten reportedly lowers our stress levels, which can reduce blood pressure.

In a 2005 study published in Biological Psychology, researchers looked at the physiological effects of a 10-minute warm hug from a significant other on the blood pressure levels of 59 premenopausal women. All couples in the study had been living with their partner for at least half a year. The research findings showed an association between more frequent partner hugs and lower blood pressure levels (along with higher levels of oxytocin) in participants. The same research team conducted another similar study published in Psychosomatic Medicine that same year. Between 38 couples, the researchers found that greater levels of perceived emotional support from a partner was linked with lower blood pressure levels in women participants after they had experienced 10 minutes of warm contact with their partner.

The effect of relationship satisfaction on blood pressure

How content you are in your relationship may also have an effect on your blood pressure as well as your connections with those around you. Researchers from a 2019 study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine monitored the blood pressure of nearly 600 participants in romantic relationships and asked them how satisfied they were in their partnerships. Those who reported high levels of partnership satisfaction had significantly lower blood pressure readings when interacting socially with their significant other in comparison to having no exchange whatsoever. These effects seemed to go beyond just partner exchanges. The researchers also saw that greater relationship satisfaction had a minor positive impact on blood pressure when participants directly interacted with friends, too.

At the end of the day, taking any prescribed medications and implementing healthy habits are the best ways to keep blood pressure levels in check. This includes getting routine exercise, eating a healthy diet, keeping stress levels low, prioritizing sleep, and more. As we've learned, however, creating a Tinder account might not hurt either. Happy swiping!