Being Anxious About Love Can Be Bad for Your Health
Falling in love is the greatest feeling in the world – exhilarating, exciting, dramatic and uplifting. But love can also induce negative feelings, too. And one of those is anxiety where feelings of dread and fear afflict you, even if outwardly there appears to be no reason for such feelings.
While such feelings are entirely natural, suffering from anxiety when you’re in love can actually be bad for your physical as well as your mental health.
A study by researchers at Ohio State University examined the subject of attachment anxiety, an emotional state that afflicts couples who can’t deal with rows, who fear rejection or are too needy. They found that attachment anxiety can affect the immune system, making those who are suffering from such emotions prone to illness.
More than 80 married couples who had been together for more than a dozen years answered questions about their relationships in a questionnaire called “The Experiences in Close Relationships Scale”.
The questions focused on symptoms of anxiety and the quality of the individual’s sleep. Meanwhile, the participants also gave blood and saliva samples that were tested for the levels of hormones linked to stress, such as cortisol, and for immune defence cells such as T-cells. The results demonstrated that those participants who had greater anxiety also had higher levels of stress hormones and lower levels of T-cells.
When the answers to the questions were analysed, they showed that the individuals who reported the most anxiety admitted to being worried about being rejected and expressed feelings of neediness. They also put negative twists on things that had happened between them and their partner.
However, the study did note that the symptoms of attachment anxiety are not permanent and that behavioural changes can reduce or remove them altogether.
The study concluded that couples who can communicate openly and honestly are less likely to suffer from anxiety and will not show high levels of stress hormones.