00:21 Thursday, 28 March 2019
“High‐quality romantic relationships are consistently associated with positive physical health outcomes.”
Feeling stressed? Thinking about your partner could help you relax.
A new study has found that visualising your significant other’s face in a high stress situation may be just as helpful as having them physically present.
Researchers at the University of Arizona asked 102 participants who were in relationships to complete a stressful and unpleasant task – submerging a foot into ice-cold water for four minutes.
Before the dunk, they were randomly assigned to three groups – either have their partner physically present during the task, think of their partner during the task, or think about their day.
The scientists measured the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate before, during and after the experiment.
They discovered that those who had their other half present had a lower cardiovascular response to the stress of the cold water than the group who were told to think about their day.
But those who just thought about their partner had a response that was comparable to the participants who had their significant other present.
Lead researcher Kyle Bourassa told The Huffington Post:
“The research suggests that during times of stress, drawing on the mental image of your romantic partner as a psychological resource might be beneficial in terms of blood pressure responses.
“Prior research found such thinking can beneficial psychologically, but this extends this work to suggest that it has physical health benefits as well.”