Earlier this month I devoted my blog to the opposite of sex; loneliness. I wanted to get you to think about the negative physical and emotional impact of loneliness and consider strategies to avoid being in this state.
This blog addresses sex inclusive of intimacy, connections, and relationships, as the opposites of loneliness and the positive effect it has on our health, longevity and happiness. The truth is that sex, intimacy, close physical contact, and having meaningful relationships with people is a critical piece of the puzzle to staying healthy and living long. When we are in the presence of a loved one, we have greater purpose in our lives … we eat healthier, exercise more, rest and sleep better, and most often have less stress. It is not always about the act of sexual intercourse. Finding and maintaining meaningful connections is what I mean by using the word sex.
Scientific studies have shown a higher level quality of life and greater life expectancy among individuals in positive relationships. Some of these effects can be attributed to neuropeptides (small protein-like molecules in our body and brain that are used for communication in our nervous system). Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, and testosterone are examples of neuropeptides. When released in our bodies, these chemical produce different favorable effects and feelings. The exact significance of each is still being studied and debated. Suffice it to say that chemistry is important to love and relationships.
As part of The Power of 5, I encourage people to recognize the importance of relationships for the benefit of their health. This can be accomplished by focusing efforts to enhance love and relationships. I describe these relationships in concentric circles moving out from the core of the circle, the most intimate – partner, followed by family, then companionship, then connections, and finally community.
Strengthen your relationship with your partner. If you don’t have one, forge strong bonds with other family members, your BFF (Best Friends Forever), or group of friends as this provokes the chemical changes in your body that lead to pleasure, a higher quality of life, and longevity.
As with all aspects of The Power of 5 formula, it takes personal commitment and intention for this to work. I wish you well in all your relationships.
To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein MD