Love: The Wonder Drug

Love: The Wonder Drug December 15, 2017

Love is stronger than medicines in some cases, and it is a life-extender for those who give it and those who receive it

Fight for Life

There are thoughts of eternity in the human heart. The fight against time, via supplements and health and beauty aids is strong evidence that we desire to a live long life, however, the most overlooked and underestimated life-extender is right under our noses, literally. It is within the human heart, so humans themselves have the elixir of life within them. God “has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Eccl 3:11), so the desire to live a long life is set deeply into our hearts, but also, all human beings desire something else, and that is the desire to receive the tender touches, gentle strokes and the reassurance of someone else…the desire to be loved unconditionally. Human love is amazing as it can draw out pain, provide internal security, create a safe zone for creativity [learning], and enable us to reach our greatest potential. For a child, a skinned knee, a dead goldfish, and hurt feelings are all made a little better by the loving care of a mother. A child doesn’t care how much you know but only how much you care, and unconditional love tells the child just how much you care. This is more likely to produce an adult that cares for others. Not much good comes where there is no love involved (1 Cor 13:1-7).

Roughhousing

When my oldest boy was young, he loved to wrestle, and it was by these times that my son and I built a strong, secure relationship. He still has fond memories of these times and has repeated these encounters with his own three sons. With physical, hands-on activity like horseback rides, he has added a great sense of security in their lives. Being a father, I try not to take it personally that my children run to mom first when they’re hurt, but I admit I am a bit jealous at times, however, I have grown comfortable with my wife’s tendencies and her strengths. Rather than oppose each other, these attributes of a father and a mother seem to give the children balance… the masculine and feminine.

Intimacy

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone produced by men and women after copulation, and this hormone has anti-anxiety effects, and stimulates various types of positive social interactions, as well as promoting growth and healing. Immediately after sex, oxytocin hormone levels rise to nearly the same levels in both men and women, and the same people exposed to this hormone showed an increase in intimacy and bonding, arising through interpersonal interactions. It is hardly surprising that oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle” hormone which is released by both men and women during sexual intercourse, but also during times of close intimacy in non-sexual interactions. It is possible that the mechanism by which altruistic love affects health occurs through blocking or attenuating the stress response, or through activating positive neurotransmitter pathways in the brain. Conversely, loneliness does just the opposite. For example, extreme isolation and loneliness breeds congestive heart failure, so just as nature abhors a vacuum, a lack of love can lead to a collapse within; like a black hole where not even light can escape.

Wedding A

Love Sick

Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us tick and what makes us sick. If a new medication had the same impact, failure to prescribe it would be considered medical negligence, so connections with other people affect not only the quality of our lives but also our long term survival. Study after study find that people who feel lonely are much more likely to get cardiovascular disease than those who have a strong sense of connection and community. I’m not aware of any other factor in medicine that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness, and premature death than does love, or the lack thereof.

Love and Health Issues

In one study at Yale, men and women who felt the most loved and supported had substantially less blockage in their coronary arteries. [1] Similarly, researchers from Case Western Reserve University studied almost 10,000 married men and found that those who answered “yes” to this simple question: “Does your wife love you?” had significantly less angina (chest pain) than those who felt unloved by their spouse. [1] When researchers at Duke surveyed men and women with heart disease, those who were single and lacked companionship were three times as likely to have died after five years. In all three studies, the protective effects of love were independent of other risk factors, and surgery patients who were loved experienced quicker recoveries.

The Love of Pets

For pet owners, pets are considered part of the family, nearly as much as the children are, and this seems to be nearly universal. Loving pets and being loved by pets is good for us (and them), since owning a pet lowers blood pressure, extends lifespan, boosts mood, provides humor, releases pain killing and mood elevating endorphins, and provides much needed companionship. They don’t care how bad a day you had. They’re just glad you’re home, so it’s not surprising that animals are excellent in reaching and connecting with people, including the mentally disabled, autistic children, juvenile delinquents, and nursing home residents, among others. Animals are therapeutic to both the patient and the owner; horses, cats, dogs, birds. Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

Love

Love is infinitely more than just feelings. Love is a verb, but love also includes intangible things like feelings of security, acceptance, and affection, but love is also tangible, and is displayed by actions that provide evidence of that love, so love is not just a feeling or being in an emotional state. Love is a verb. It’s what you do! The interesting thing is, the more you give away, the more you receive, so it’s nearly impossible to give away too much love, nor can you ever receive too much love because the human heart has an ever-expanding capacity to love and be loved. God gave His only Son because He loves us (John 3:16). Jesus, who is God, came as a Man to die to redeem us, so God the Father sent Jesus (also God) to die on the Cross for simple creatures like us so we can live forever with Him. That’s love in action! Actions do speak louder than words, or feelings, or emotions.

Conclusion

There is a definite physiochemical connection between being loved and living longer, healthier lives, but a loss of love or being unloved can also lead to a shorter life. When a spouse dies, and the couple has lived together for decades, the surviving spouse’s lifespan is shortened, so in many cases, a spouse will follow their deceased mate in a relatively short time, so clearly there is a strong connection between love and health, and it’s directly related to the number of years a person lives, so love truly is a “wonder drug” since love can add years to a person’s life. The same applies for pets, so if you love, you live…longer. That is my hope for you. Even more importantly, if you repent and trust in Christ, you are loved for all time and saved for eternity.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

1. Love is Real. Dean Ornish. Newsweek; U.S. Edition. Oct 2, 2005 http://www.newsweek.com/love-real-medicine-121033 (Accessed Dec 11, 2017).

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  • Yes, compassion, healing mercy and loving kindness help heal human relationships and have the capacity to help heal human bodies ( in many cases, but not all). So, I agree with you Jack. In fact, this is one of your best posts. Love ennobles the human person and is realised in concrete action towards one’s self and towards others.

    If God exists and is love then positive belief in a God of love can have wonderful, uplifting qualities. However, if God is violent and angry with the world and people believe that God is angry with them because he is a violent person, then this inhibits love in our personal lives and relationships, It is likely to have detrimental effects on our relationships and health.

    If God does not exist, then God has nothing to do with our human well-being. So, we will find it beneficial to show compassion and kindness towards ourselves and others, whether a God of love exists or not.

    • pud

      The christian version of love of god is the same as North Korea. You must love that which you also fear. The very definition of tyranny. Their “god” is a mass murdering, vengeful, psychotic lunatic that the delusional “believers” must love or else. It is the sickest most pathological mindset any human could possibly have. The religious are all mentally ill. They are the beaten wives of this “god” who remain in relationship because if they leave they will be killed. Sick. Diseased, Deranged, Demented, Delusional.

      • Well the Jihadi Jesus of the literal interpretation of the book of Revelation is actually worse than the North Korean leader. He has rivers of blood flowing several feet high. He’s much like the brutal version of Yahweh in the OT who commands genocide.

        If a person suffers from the god delusion, why can’t they have a peaceful and non violent god to believe in. There are likely to be less damaging consequences of such a belief. Compassion, healing mercy and loving kindness has beneficial effects whether one suffers from the god delusion or not.

        • Jack Wellman

          Rom 5:6-10 is a better, and more full picture of Jesus’ work than hunt and peck Bible verses that appear contrary. Jesus would spare any who trust in Him from the living hell that is to come. Trust Him, and it will be the Living Water and not rivers full of blood. It’s like being on the sinking Titanic and complaining about the big gash in the boat while completely ignoring the life boats.

  • pud

    “God gave His only Son because He loves us (John 3:16). Jesus, who is God, came as a Man to die to redeem us, so God the Father sent Jesus (also God) to die on the Cross for simple creatures like us so we can live forever with Him.”

    What absolute infantile gibberish, nonsense and idiocy.

    An omnipotent deity doesn’t need human blood sacrifice to accomplish anything….explain the physics behind this stupid.

    An “all loving” deity wouldn’t demand suffering, death and cruelty nor would he/she/it ever be in a position to require this seeing as this deity is “perfect” and “all knowing”

    An “all loving” deity would accomplish this stupid goal with words, explanation, understanding and compassion not nailing something to a tree!

    Everything you put forward is imbecilic, irrational, illogical and pure unaduturated bullshit for the simple minded, credulous and gullible

    You or anyone else in your sick death cult cannot even demonstrate the most fundamental premises you base your whole sick ideology on….the existence of ANY “god” the existence of anyone name of “jesus” (except the guy who mows your lawn) or anything else in your ridiculous mythological superstitious Bronze and Iron Age fiction.

    • Mr. Matt

      Hey Pud, How are you? Never have commented before, but heard you and wanted to reply. I used to think very similarly to you, but did end up, verv much, to my surprise and everyone else’s, a believer in this “imbecilic, irrational, illogical and pure unaduturated bullshit for the simple minded, credulous and gullible”. I’m not those things you describe, but I was ignorant of all the reasons why these things happened. It has been a humbling process to go through, but so worth it. I am OK with your backlash, but i will leave you with this, in the end faith is more than the 5 senses. There is so much more. Don’t let any faulty human or any thought dissuade you from getting to the bottom of it. Keep going, man. It is so worth the journey.

      • pud

        “faith” is THE most dishonest position anyone can hold. How many extra senses do you have? Can you see through walls?

        The rest of your babble was totally incoherent

        • Mr. Matt

          Haha…you write like the President tweets. Full of vitriol and so afraid of not knowing everything. i can’t see through walls but can see through all your anger and i see that you desire to understand what you clearly do not and experience the overwhelming peace that eludes you. Why else would you be on here?

          • pud

            Nope…it’s contempt for your wicked delusional brain robbing cult.

            We proclaimed a dream of an America that would be a Shining City on a Hill.
            —President Ronald Reagan, 1984

            I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.
            —President Barack Obama, 2014

            It has become obligatory. To be taken seriously in American politics, one must kneel before the altar of “American exceptionalism”—the messianic notion that the United States is a constant source for good in the world with a unique mission to spread its particular values.

            At times, this manifests itself in absurdist minutiae, such as then-presidential candidate Barack Obama sparking controversy when he was seen without the requisite American flag pin on the lapel of his suit jacket. Gasp. Lambasted in the press for this unpatriotic symbolic gaffe, Obama soon sported the compulsory pin. He sported it safely through the presidency.

            Both major political parties have long since reached a consensus of sorts on extolling America’s messianic global mission. To even question the contours of that crusade—despite 17 years of failing military quagmires—is to commit political suicide and be relegated to the margins of public life.

            For once, the mainstream politicians might be right. A rigorous look at the United States of 2018 (or 2002, or 1850, for that matter) indicates that America may well be exceptional—only not in the ways most of its citizens think. On many issues and several levels, America’s culture of militarism (both at home and abroad) stands out as the unique dark side of the exceptionalist project. We are, in fact, extraordinary among the family of nations. Unfortunately, that which makes us exceptional is the dogged militarism that consistently brands the U.S. as an international pariah.

            Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when regular global polling indicates that a large percentage of the earth’s population considers the United States the greatest threat to world peace. After all, ours was a nation founded—in part—by religious zealots obsessed with creating a New Jerusalem in North America (native inhabitants be damned). In fact, one could plausibly argue that America’s two key founding proclivities were “city on a hill” exceptionalism and greedy conquest. Just ask a Native American. Or a Mexican.

            Still, in 2018, it’s worth reviewing just a few ways the United States is, indeed, darkly exceptional.

            Other countries are sometimes aggressive and expansionist (think Russian irredentism and Chinese bullying in the South China Sea), but only the United States maintains a worldwide system of hundreds of military bases in scores of countries. The United States military even divides the entire planet into a series of geographic combatant commands (GCCs), each led by a four-star flag officer—a figure as much imperial proconsul as humble soldier. Most Americans can’t seem to fathom why these forward deployments on every continent appear aggressive to so many global citizens. Still, one wonders how the U.S. would react if China set up bases in Mexico or Russia did the same in Newfoundland.

            How about prepping for and actually fighting overseas wars? Well, we’re the champs here, too. In 2016, baseline U.S. military spending reached $611 billion, and it’s only going to rise—by about $100 billion—under Trump. That’s more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany combined. Oh, yeah, and the last six are all U.S. “allies” or “strategic partners.” Despite the prevailing rhetoric of peace and harmony, the U.S. is also the leader in global arms sales, including transactions with some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.

            In terms of active conflict, the U.S. military has been at war now for nearly 17 straight years. In that time, America has conducted more overt regime changes—three—than any other country. Each of those regime change operations, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, has led to chaos, civil war and millions of dead. None of these post-invasion countries could reasonably be labeled free or stable despite all the bloodshed and trillions spent. And America’s wars are still spreading. In 2016 alone, the U.S. dropped 26,000-plus bombs on at least seven countries. Given the current mood in Washington, expect that number only to rise.

            Then there’s the American penchant for scuttling global agreements or retiring to pout in the corner rather than sign on to truly consequential conventions we don’t happen to like. Take the Paris Climate Accord. Every serious country—come to think of it, all countries—have now signed on to this modest global effort to stave off the effects of global warming. Everyone, that is, except Trump’s United States. Never mind that even the U.S. military considers climate change both real and a major security threat. Facts have such an annoying tendency to get in the way of things. The U.S. also hasn’t signed on to the International Criminal Court. Probably a smart move. Otherwise Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld might actually have been held accountable for, well, war crimes.

            It’s not just official agreements, either. The U.S. stances on several world issues—Israel/Palestine, for example—contribute to America’s pariah status and leave it alone and unafraid. President Trump’s unprecedented decision to reverse 70 years of bipartisan policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s (but not Palestine’s) capital was a particularly “exceptional” one. After all, over 120 countries condemned his decision at the United Nations. But hey, at least the African nation of Togo backed Trump’s announcement.

            Nonetheless, Trump’s move was only the latest among more than a half-century’s worth of U.S. policies backing Israel in the face of the near global condemnation of Israeli conquest and occupation since at least the Six Days’ War of 1967. Of course, there are plenty of explanations for America’s unflappable support of Israel, but one is particularly noteworthy, if counterintuitive: evangelical Christianity. That’s right, somewhere around one-third of America’s 40 million to 50 million evangelicals believe Israel has a distinct role to play in the imminent end of times. See, the Jews have to return to the Holy Land in order for Jesus Christ to come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Never mind that most of these Christians believe all those Jews will then be banished to an eternity in hell—the Israeli right still is (cynical as ever) glad for the help with their settler-colonial project. How’s that for exceptional?

            Back on the home front, the nexus of outward aggression and inward militarism is regularly on display, if, that is, you know where to look. No, I don’t mean the National Football League—though one does have to stand almost in awe of an increasing martial pageantry that blurs the line between sports stadium and Roman Coliseum. Nor am I referring to the fun new title for the Army college football team’s latest victory: the Lockheed Martin Military Bowl, a fun reminder that the military-industrial complex is alive and well. Rather, let us focus on the ways in which the empire, so to speak, has come home to roost.

            It all connects. Today in America, militarized police patrol the streets of black and brown neighborhoods, sporting the same vehicles I once drove around Baghdad and Kandahar. These areas in U.S. cities are often full of desperate, impoverished citizens, the refuse of America’s hyper-free-market capitalism and resultant record income inequality.

            Uneven, aggressive policing is necessary, law enforcement would argue, due to a heavily armed populace. They’re not all wrong, either. Americans are the most heavily armed people on earth. Yemen, a nation torn apart by Saudi aggression and persistent civil war, is a distant second.

            All this militarized policing of an impoverished, gun-toting populace is bound to fill up the prisons. And, boy, does it. The United States has just 4 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its prisoners. Once again, the good old USA is highly exceptional, with the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world—four times as high as Saudi Arabia, which, incidentally, also beheads women for “sorcery.”

            Oh, and America’s incarceration bonanza, well, it’s highly racialized. Black men are imprisoned at five times the rate of whites.

            All this militarization, at home and abroad, adds up to one thing: a distinctly, and embarrassingly exceptional nation—a global pariah.

          • Mr. Matt

            Thank you for your service. Thank you for sharing your other thoughts, as well. Brainless in love and peace. Wishing the same for you.

  • pud

    OOOOppppss!! Gentle jesus meek and mild M.I.A. once again!

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  • pud

    There have been nearly 10,000 “gods” so far
    But only yours exists
    The others are silly made up nonsense
    But not yours
    Yours is real.

    LOL