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Researchers Find an Easy Way to Lower Blood Pressure

Researchers recruited 102 undergraduate students who were in “committed romantic relationships.” To begin the test, they watched cute nature videos for one minute to bring down their blood pressure and heart rate. Then they were told to dunk their foot in ice water for four minutes, while the researchers measured their blood pressure and pulse.

Participants were randomized to one of three groups:

-The first group had their romantic partners in the room with them.

-The second group was told to think about their romantic partner who wasn’t with them.

-The last group was told to just think about their day (control group).

The blood pressure of the “partner present people” didn’t spike as much as the control group. The same was true for the “partner in mind” participants. In an encouragement for people in long-distance relationships, the blood pressure benefit was just as strong in the “partner in mind” group as in the “partner present” group. The researchers say the results suggest that loving relationships may act as a "buffer" against stress responses.

This study is only a small part of a larger section of literature showing that loving relationships, including close friendships, are associated with less stress, less impact on the body, and even a longer lifespan. So next time the news stresses you out … think about a loved one, even if they aren’t there.

Possible Preaching Angle: This study reinforces what Scripture repeatedly teaches: In times of stress or pain fix your mind on God our ever-present Comforter and Friend.

Source: Jack Turban, “The Mental Image of a Loved One Can Keep Down Blood Pressure,” Psychology Today (1-23-19)

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