Is Looking for Love Bad For Your Health?

Love, Heartbreak

Stress, anxiety and depression are fat triggers for cortisol. Is the search for love making you fat?

Dating can be stressful. The search for love can be long, arduous and met with challenges. Personalities may clash. Lies may be told and people may not be as fabulous as they are in person as they seem to be online. These situations can create stress and aggravation for even the most level headed and calm individual.

When faced with difficult situations, it is common to become stressed. Stress produces cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When cortisol is released into the body, it can create feelings of fatigue. It also is responsible for the late night snacking and the desire for comfort foods. If you are under severe, or chronic, mental, physical or emotional stress, cortisol production goes into high gear and is being rapidly consumed by your muscles, nerves and tissues. As a side-effect, you begin to feel more hungry and can start to over-eat. 

Rejection, another risk of dating, creates depression. If you have met someone and thought there was a love connection, you may become sad if the feelings aren't mutual. If you have been searching for love for a very long time and it's been unsuccessful, this may leave you feeling depressed. Depression is another fat trigger for gaining weight. 

Depression can lead to lethargy, low self-esteem and anxiety. Depression has also been linked to inactivity and poor diets which can lead to excessive weight gain or weight loss. Heavy drinking, smoking and abuse of prescription drugs have been associated with depression. 

Looking for love can leave you vulnerable, exhausted and confused. It is a true act of bravery to put yourself out there and be willing and open to finding love. It can take time to find the right partner. Weeks can turn to months, and for some, months turns to years. During all this time, you may question yourself and not understand why love has eluded you. And worse yet, you may begin to believe it's something about you - your appearance, your personality or your overall being that is keeping someone from loving you. 

Rejection. Hurt feelings. Mixed signals. It's taking too much time. How can you maintain a good and healthy attitude to fend off depression, stress and anxiety as you find your plus one? 

  1. Exercise - A dose of daily exercise is not only good for your health, but its good for your mental state. When you exercise, your brain releases two stress busting chemicals, seratonin and dopamine. The more you exercise, the more your body continues to produce feel good endorphins. If you're feeling good, there's less time to feel sorry for yourself. 
  2. Proper Diet - A well-balanced diet will lower your cortisol levels. Complex carbohydrates, whole grains and fruits and vegetables are your go-to choices to reduce heart disease and to keep your blood levels balanced. Limit, or avoid, empty calories such as alcohol and processed foods. If you need help with selecting a lifestyle diet that's best for you, consult with a nutritionist or a certified health professional. 
  3. Journal - Daily journaling has been proven to lower stress and help with depression. By having a place to write down your thoughts, it allows you a sense of release. Writing about what's troubling you is a form of therapy. It's also beneficial to also write about what you are grateful and thankful for, too. Writing is an emotional and personal experience. It enables you to take self-limiting thoughts from your mind and let them go.  
  4. Sleep - Poor sleeping patterns have been linked to cortisol production. Production of melatonin, the sleep inducing chemical, also lowers with age. Taking melatonin supplements at night can help better enable you to get eight to ten hours of sleep.

The benefits of falling in love are good for your health. Studies have shown that couples that are in happy and loving relationships tend to lead longer, more active lives. There's no need to wait to find love to lead a healthy lifestyle. Make yourself your number one relationship. Get into the habit of living well now. 

Contributed by Kimberly James, MatchMaster & Dating Expert,