In a new study on how romantic partnerships may affect stress levels, about 100 women and men who were all in romantic relationships were asked to complete a stressful task: submerging a foot into very cold water (38 to 40 degrees!) while researchers measured blood pressure. Some of the participants had their partners in the room while doing the task, while others were asked to simply think about their partners as a source of comfort. A third group was asked to think about their days. Compared with the participants who thought about their days, those whose partners were present and those who thought about their partners experienced a lower blood pressure response. And here’s the surprising part: thinking about a partner was just as effective as having him or her present. Talk about mind control! This finding may help to explain why good-quality romantic relationships are linked to better health.
Source: The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence
“We are most alive when we’re in love.” John Updike