Women's Health Australia

THE love EXPERIMENT

There’s a holiday dedicated to it, a million poems about it, dozens of industries built around it and no synonyms for it: love. It’s perhaps the most fundamental human need, the one Buddhist monks consider the secret to a life full of joy – a life that makes you leap (OK, crawl) out of bed with a smile, even if everything around you is a shambles.

This isn’t a bunch of woo. An overflowing bucket of research shows it’s the quality of your relationships – more than money, genes or social class – that predicts long-term happiness, health, even longevity. Marital satisfaction can lower your risk of depression, and content couples in their 80s report better perceived health than those who aren’t happily paired. Having good friends is linked to a lower incidence of chronic disease. And an authentic dose of self-love can literally stop stress in its tracks.

And yet,

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