Mat­ters of the heart: Love has the power to heal pain

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, hav­ing a loved one next to you in times of an in­jury or pain can help in the heal­ing process

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - HT City | Lifestyle - Collin Ro­drigues­drigues@hin­dus­tan­ ■

Crick­eter Virat Kohli re­cently suf­fered a shoul­der in­jury and was un­able to play for the Ben­ga­lore team at the on­go­ing IPL tour­na­ment. It was dur­ing this time that his girl­friend, Anushka Sharma, flew down to the city to be with the crick­eter, and their pic­tures to­gether went vi­ral. In a video, shot around the same time, Virat is seen hold­ing red roses in his hand, prob­a­bly gifted by his la­dylove.


In the past, there have been sev­eral in­stances of celebs jet­ting off to meet their loved ones post an in­jury or some emer­gency. Psy­chi­a­trist Git­tan­jali Sax­ena says that it is es­sen­tial to have a loved one next to you dur­ing dif­fi­cult times. She says, “An in­jury is usu­ally a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. Nor­mally, af­ter such in­ci­dents, an in­di­vid­ual can ex­pe­ri­ence stress re­ac­tions, which can in­clude fear, help­less­ness and aches. When a per­son ex­pe­ri­ences an in­jury, he or she feels in­se­cure, fear­ful and un­sure. The pres­ence of a loved one makes the vic­tim hope­ful and se­cure as he or she feels that there is some­one who is in charge of the sit­u­a­tion.”

Psy­chother­a­pist and re­la­tion­ship coach Neeta V Shetty, says love has a heal­ing ef­fect. She says, “Hav­ing a lov­ing and em­pa­thetic part­ner next to you dur­ing pain, in­jury and ill­ness pro­motes heal­ing and well-be­ing, im­proves your health, and psy­cho­log­i­cally of­fers a sense of com­fort and se­cu­rity to the loved one. Love is of­ten called a drug that ac­ti­vates the re­ward cen­tre of the brain. This, in turn, blocks the pain at the spinal cord level.” She adds, “Love also pro­duces oxy­tocin, the feel good hor­mone, which re­duces car­dio­vas­cu­lar stress, im­proves the im­mune sys­tem and de­creases cell death and in­flam­ma­tion. It also pro­duces nor­ep­i­neph­rine and dopamine hor­mones, which in­crease the feel­ings of joy and plea­sure, and help you get dis­tracted from pain and dis­com­fort. Hug­ging and hold­ing hands with a loved one in­stantly re­duces stress lev­els, which in turn re­duces pain and in­flam­ma­tion. It has been proven through re­search that if a hus­band held his wife’s hand dur­ing child­birth and labour, it re­duced labour pain.”


On the other hand, not hav­ing a loved one next to you dur­ing an in­jury may also in­crease your re­cov­ery time. Shetty says, “Be­ing alone dur­ing an ill­ness and in­jury fur­ther in­creases the stress hor­mone, cor­ti­sol, in our body. This tends to in­crease pain and in­flam­ma­tion as well as re­duce the im­mu­nity level, which weak­ens our abil­ity to heal. There is also an in­creased level of anx­i­ety in a per­son with no care­taker around dur­ing ill­ness. A per­son tends to feel more alone be­cause of re­stricted mo­ments and de­pend­abil­ity on some­one else and this can also lead to de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety dur­ing this time.”


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