In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love. She and Mars created a chubby little god called Cupid. Under orders from his mother, Cupid shot golden arrows into people’s hearts. Like magic, the people fell in love.

Ah, if only.

Valentine’s Day is a day we celebrate being in love. And wouldn’t you know, there’s extra cause for celebration. Being in love is very good for you as our emotional health is strongly tied to our physical health.

Couples in love, on average, live five years longer than those who aren’t

Couples in love have lower rates of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes

Being in love lowers stress because of the emotional support and physical intimacy

Lower stress means relaxed blood vessels

Relaxed blood vessels mean better flow, encouraging blood to carry nutrients where they’re needed

Your body’s energy is used now for healing rather than fighting stress

Less stress can mean a stronger immune system.

In fact, love can affect a person’s health so much, that when someone loses a loved one, they can literally die of a broken heart.

Hey! What about single people?! For us, Valentine’s Day can feel like Singles Awareness Day!

Well, have no fear. If you’re not part of a couple, it’s okay. The benefits of love extend beyond romantic relationships. We can and should, take advantage of many types of loving relationships. It can be love in your relationships with God, family and friends or communities in your life. And many of you know, loving relationships can even be found with pets. Studies show that owning a dog or cat reduces a person’s stress level. People with pets are less likely to suffer a heart attack.

However, if you’re still feeling alone and unloved, I have a suggestion. Instead of focusing on getting love ~ try GIVING love. The benefits are fantastic!

There are always things you can do for other people. Just open your eyes and, more appropriately, your heart. Begin looking for people who are worse off than you, people who need something. Maybe even just a hug. Don’t be scared. There’s no shortage of need in our world ~ in your world.

The heart is important to life, love, happiness and as it turns out, health. It is part of our songs, our poems, our language and even our customs.

Bottom line ~ Humans are not meant to live isolated lives. If you make the effort to get connected to other people and to build loving relationships, you’ll be happier ~ and healthier.

A great step toward better heart health!