But a study at Case Western Reserve University showed one question is a better predictor of angina than any question they've been able to come up with: Does your wife show you her love? The study was done on ten thousand men who did not have any chest pain at the start of the study. The researchers found that even if a man had several risk factors (like high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle), if he felt his wife showed him her love, it was protective. He was less likely to have angina.
Men who had the same risk factors but answered "no" had almost twice as much chest pain.
Dean Ornish, in his book, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, says researchers approach this question in many different ways, but they all find the same thing. He summarizes study after study showing the powerful effects of connection on peoples' health, and he summarized it all with this:
In other words, do you have anyone who really cares for you? Who feels close to you? Who loves you? Who wants to help you? In whom you can confide?
If the answers are no, you may have three to five times higher risk of premature death and disease from all causes — or even higher, according to some studies. These include increased risk of heart attack, stroke, infectious diseases, many types of cancer, allergies, arthritis, tuberculosis, autoimmune diseases, low birth weight and low Apgar scores, alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, and so on.
The connections you have make a big difference. When you feel loved and when you contribute to and love others, it significantly improves how happy you feel — which you probably know already — but it also improves how physically healthy you are.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Direct Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.