Rocky Relationships can be bad for your Health

Sad couple sitting back to back

Rocky Relationships can be bad for your Health

There are plenty of studies that say that marriage is good for you, both for your mental and physical health. But if things aren’t going well, the opposite is true. Rocky relationships can actually be bad for your health. Heartbreak for instance is really painful emotionally. What is less well known is that it can also lead to heart disease. Research published in the American Medical Association’s journal found that medium to extreme marital stress gave women a 2.9 times higher chance of getting heart disease, suffering a heart attack and needing heart surgery. Diabetes, smoking, age, bad cholesterol and blood pressure were all taken out of the equation. Whether they were married or not wasn’t the issue. Cohabitating women showed similar results.

Another study published in 2006 in the American Journal of Cardiology found that couples with the most difficult marriages and in tandem had a chronic disease such as congestive heart failure were more likely to die within four years. Though one study revealed that a healthy, committed relationship is beneficial to mental health, the opposite is true as well. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior published a study in 2003 that showed that those in a rocky relationship had far worse mental health than their single counterparts.

An unhappy marriage isn’t just bad for your mental health. Studies have shown that it can mimic the negative health effects of smoking or inactivity for women. According to a study presented at the American Psychosomatic Society’s back in 2009, those who experienced more arguments and fights in their relationship had high blood sugar, high blood pressure, lower levels of good cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. What’s more, a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine back in 1993 revealed that newlyweds who took part in a heated argument had lower immune system functions. Constant relationship stress certainly does harm the body’s functioning.

A review published in the journal Physiology and Behavior in 2003 showed that unhappily married people were far worse off in terms of overall well-being that those who were single. These problems spill over into the workplace. Research published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that those who had a troubled marriage had higher levels of stress, at were at higher risk for serious health issues such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity and depression. Lastly, relationship problems can make it more difficult for you to recover from disease. According to an article published in the journal Cancer in 2009, unhappy couples had functions that were impaired compared to those in solid relationships. What’s more, they were less likely to adhere to healthy behaviors including watching their diet and following doctor’s orders. For more on why it’s better to fly solo than crash and burn read, Better Single than Sorry: A No-Regrets Guide to Loving Yourself and Never Settling by Jen Schefft.

Divorced Wife Wants Donated Kidney Back

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Divorced Wife Wants Donated Kidney Back

Samantha Lamb of the U.K. made the ultimate sacrifice for her husband. She went under the knife and donated a kidney to him. He thanked her by asking for a divorce.  Now the 41 year old mother with one child wishes she could get her kidney back and give it to someone who in her eyes is more deserving. Ms. Lamb speaking to a British newspaper stated, “I can’t believe he now has a second chance to live to see his grandchildren grow up. I would definitely go through the operation again – but I wouldn’t give the kidney to him. I hate him. If I could I’d take it back and give it someone else. Obviously I don’t want people to be put off putting their names on the organ donor list. But all I want from him is his name on the divorce papers.” The couple met working together driving ambulances for an ambulance company. Andy, her ex was funny, quick witted and never stopped delivering punchy one-liners. They originally got together in 2004. Then they broke up, but soon after reunited. They were married in 2007.

Of this period Ms. Lamb explains, “We had a nice life, although there were signs that Andy wasn’t what I had hoped for. He was controlling, like not letting me wear perfume every day. But we had a three-bedroom house in a lovely street and I thought we were happy. Then Andy became sick. His kidneys were failing. But he didn’t face up to it. He just got angry. He thought the world was against him and everyone else was to blame. I loved him and wanted him to get better but his moods were awful and he’d take it out on me.” They discussed it. Over time Ms. Lamb convinced Andy to have one of her kidneys. He had children from a previous marriage and wanted to be around for them. The couple even took part in a BBC documentary about organ donation.

It was after the surgery that Andy started acting differently. He was very ill before. But afterward he was flush, strong and healthy. He even shaved for the cameras. Meanwhile, Ms. Lamb was exhausted. Soon he was as testy as ever. He would pick fights with her then disappear for hours. Soon the truth was revealed. “I confronted him about having an affair with my friend Clare. My mum and sister saw him with his arm around her, “said Lamb. “He denied it and stormed out.” Ms. Lamb confronted Clare who admitted the affair. Though she won’t be seeing her organ returned, she got some revenge, “I did what any woman would do. I cut up his clothes, put them in black bin bags and left them outside the house.” To learn more about infidelity and revenge, read the book, Cheated ON and Pissed OFF! 20 Real Stories of Revenge by Simone Summers.

Want to boost your Partner’s Sex Drive? Make them Laugh

COUPLE-LAUGHING

Want to boost your Partner’s Sex Drive? Make them Laugh

Do you have a partner that has a low sex drive? Maybe watching a funny movie will help you thaw them out. Many psychologists have stated that laughing can relax you, boost your sex drive and lengthen your life. A book called Laughology: Improve Your Life with the Science of Laughter wants to teach people just how laughing can make their lives better, and how to inject a little more humor into them. Experts have claimed that a good laugh can boost your sex life and help you live longer. Psychologist Stephanie Davies, the author of the aforementioned tome, said that losing weight and looking young through a healthy lifestyle also help boost your partner’s drive. According to Ms. Davies there is nothing sexier than someone who can make you laugh.

Humor isn’t only a way to snuggle up to your honey. It’s also great for our health. Laughing fills our brains with serotonin, the happiness chemical which makes us magnetic, positive and sociable. Nothing works those abs better than a belly laugh. One study showed that a hard belly laugh for only ten to fifteen minutes per day can trim your waistline by a few pounds per year. Hearty laughter is as good as working out for ten minutes on the rowing machine. Those who are laughing constantly don’t make as many bad decisions. Depressed folks often grab for the junk food for comfort. But happy go lucky types don’t have this problem. Laughter has also been shown to suppress hunger in some studies. Laughing is good for the face, too. It increases the blood flow, making your skin more elastic and healthy looking. If making your partner laugh doesn’t work, and a low sex drive is an issue in the relationship, have your significant other visit a doctor. Physical illness, depression, stress and many more issues can be the cause. Talk to them and find out about what they are feeling. Are they going through a particularly stressful period or a rough patch? Find out what you can do to help, or at least make them feel better. A good laugh always helps.

Avoiding Relationship Burnout means Caring for yourself

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Some people have partners who are seriously ill, either mentally or physically. Others have certain issues that they are dealing with themselves that can weigh on them and their partner. For these, timeouts and self-care are really crucial. But even avoiding burnout in a normal relationship is still so important.  Each partner should find some time and space to relax, reconnect with one’s self and rejuvenate. But in today’s busy world few people seem to do that and they and their relationships suffer. It shouldn’t take up a lot of time. But a little time to one’s self in order to recalibrate, decompress and feel oneness again can mean the difference between feeling good and bringing a great attitude to your work, family life and relationship or bringing a bad attitude, bad energy and bringing everything down. So what are some things you can do that don’t take a lot of time but will make a significant impact in relieving stress, feeling good and reconnecting with one’s self? There are lots of things you can do. It all depends on your situation, the type of person you are and what will have the most impact for you. Maybe your life is so hectic that you just need some alone time. Schedule a half hour or an hour a day just to have some alone time. Call it that, your own “time out” or “mommy time” or “daddy time.”

When you do take that time, make sure you are covered so you can relax. Ask your neighbor, friend, sibling or somebody else to chip in if your schedule is always packed. You need to be able to have peace of mind but make sure the kids are being watched. Do things you find calming. A hobby, listening to relaxing music, reading, exercise, yoga, transcendental meditation and more can all work to soothe you and wipe the stress away. If you can afford it, or trick a friend or a lover into it, why not get regular massages? It’s good for your health. Studies have shown receiving regular massage boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Get a pedicure or a manicure. They are fine for men, too. Spend some time with a favorite pet. Why not pursue a hobby or interest that is outside your relationship, just for you? Martial arts, sewing, crocheting, model ship building, writing, painting, drawing, writing songs and more can all calm the mind and body, putting you in a much better mood.  Socializing can also mean the difference of stressing out and feeling stress free. Seeing a friend, or small groups just for fun maybe once a week can really brighten you and keep you calm. If you are taking care of a sick spouse or partner, or helping them through a difficult time, it’s so important to get out and socialize. You can feel totally isolated and alone. We are social beings and reconnecting can add so much to your life. For more advice on how to care for yourself, read Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself As Effectively As You Care for Everyone Else by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D. and Henry Dreher.

Terrible things Caused by Heartbreak

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We’ve all heard the story of one spouse or lover dying shortly after the other. The explanation is usually that they were so heartbroken they couldn’t live without their beloved. Heartache is one of the most painful things we can experience in life. Historically, science has ignored the mind-body connection. But more and more we’re discovering how mindset and attitude affects our physical well-being. This is nowhere as true as in terms of a painful breakup or divorce. There are terrible things that can happen to you physically that are caused by heartbreak. Ever have your hair fall out because of a breakup? This is caused by elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. It can last for up to six weeks. Cortisol also lowers the immune system’s defenses, making one more susceptible to catching a cold or even the flu. Nausea, headaches, heart palpitations, and body aches can all occur due to the physical strain caused by such a painful emotional experience. Your blood pressure may also increase as blood vessels can narrow and the heart can beat irregularly due to one’s depressed and anxiety ridden state.

It’s not only your blood pressure but the heart itself. A study out of Harvard found that people experiencing a painful breakup were 21 times more likely to endure a heart attack. If you have asthma, be careful to take it easy, relax and try to soothe yourself at this time. Heartbreak can trigger an asthma attack, mostly related to stress.  Due to the increase in cortisol and the decrease of insulin production at this time the risk of diabetes also elevates. Breakups don’t only affect our moods, they affect us physically as well. But you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to friends, family, mentors and others that you feel close to. Reconnect with yourself. Grieve appropriately. Let others take care of you and look out for you at this time. Many people have made terrible decisions during a breakup, ones which they regret. Then you’ve compounded your heartache with another mistake. Allow yourself to grieve. But don’t wallow in self-pity. Set up a plan to help yourself heal and build yourself back up again in a way that is healthy both physically and emotionally. A breakup can be one of the most painful things you can go through. But how you handle it really spells whether you come through it a healthier, happier you or not. For more advice, read Healing A Broken Heart: A Guided Journal Through the Four Seasons of Relationship Recovery by Sarah La Saulle and Sharon Kagan.