LivingA good relationship with a partner keeps blood pressure...

A good relationship with a partner keeps blood pressure at bay

In 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Chicago published a study in the journal Stress that, in its conclusions, confirmed what many experts already suspected: having a stable partner – and, above all, getting along with them – helps you better cope with stressful situations. In an experiment, scientists found that when the same problem was posed to a group of people, a greater increase in cortisol levels was observed, a substance that our body releases in response to stress – in fact, it is known as hormone of stress–, in those who did not maintain a romantic relationship.

Now, a new essay, this time promoted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, not only corroborates this assessment, but also shows that the simple fact of thinking about our better half helps to keep blood pressure under control in the same way as if we were accompanied by her.

To determine this, the authors of the work carried out an experiment that they detail in the journal Psychophysiology . In it, they asked 102 volunteers, all of them with a partner, to put a foot in a container with water at a temperature of about 3 degrees, a task designed to cause them a feeling of stress. To see how their constants changed, they measured their blood pressure and heart rate before, during and after the test.

A powerful mental image

In the course of it, they were divided into three groups. In one, the participants had to reflect on what they had done throughout the day. The members of another were asked to think that their peers were with them, supporting them. Those in the third were allowed to be with their partners in the same room. Well, the psychologists detected that, although the heart rate was similar in the members of all the groups, the blood pressure was significantly lower in those of the last two. What’s more, the results were identical in both, suggesting that visualizing the person you love was as effective in this regard as having them by your side.

In the scientific literature, it is possible to find numerous references on the positive effect on health that romantic relationships have . According to Kyle Bourassa, the psychologist who coordinated the study, this finding could help explain this phenomenon. “From our results it is inferred that a good relationship with a partner helps to deal with stress and that considering the loved one as a support to cope with the day to day, either at work or when we face an exam or a medical test, it keeps him at bay, whether or not he is physically present, ”he says.

Reference: The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence . Kyle J. Bourassa et al. Psychophysiology (2019) . DOI: doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13324

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