The Power of Love and Connection

Love is an essential part of life

As human beings, we all have a primary need to love, and to feel loved, and to engage in healthy loving relationships. Love is as necessary as the air we breathe and as the need for water and sleep. Research shows that the lack of love and intimacy has a negative effect on our health and wellbeing, far beyond what we may realise.

Belonging is a human need

The Need to Belong Theory[1] refers to the idea that humans have a fundamental motivation to be accepted into relationships with others and to be a part of social groups. The fact that belongingness is a need means that human beings must establish and maintain a minimum quantity of enduring relationships. These relationships should have more positivity than negativity and be meaningful and significant to the relationship partners.

According to American Psychologist Roy Baumeister and his colleague Professor Mark Leary, “one of our deepest needs is to be loved, known and to belong – to feel connected to others and to have close, nourishing relationships.”[2]


Love protects us

Love and Survival[3], a book by American doctor Dean Ornish, includes research which states that love and intimacy protects us from disease, extends our life expectancy, decreases depression and improves our quality of living and dying. Similarly, studies have shown that people with a network of good friends boost their chances of surviving life-threatening illness, have stronger, more resilient immune systems, improve their mental health and live longer than people without social support.

The website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[4] similarly states that the health benefits of Social Connectedness include:

  • Improving your ability to recover from stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Promoting healthy eating, physical activity, and weight
  • Improving sleep, well-being, and quality of life
  • Reducing your risk of violent and suicidal behaviors
  • Preventing death from chronic diseases

It also suggests that people with stronger social bonds have a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those who have fewer social connections and that social connection with others can prevent serious illness and outcomes, including stroke, dementia, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

All of the above research all point towards that love is a key component for optimal health and wellbeing.

So what exactly is love?

There are many ways to describe love. Here are a few definitions:

☆ the joyful, feeling or pure positive affection that we feel for those closest and dearest to us

☆ the passionate bond between parents and children, husbands and wives

☆ the blissful feeling of being at one with someone or something

☆ experiencing profoundly warm and positive feelings towards another or within yourself

☆ feeling connected and at peace with the moment

☆ the source of everything and the essence of who we are

☆ what arises when we give unconditionally


According to Positive Psychologist, Dr Barbara Fredrickson “Love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people – even strangers – connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong.” In her book Love 2.0, Barbara goes on to remind us that we must remember to “re-make love daily” with those we care about as love fades without attention and reinforcement.

Relationships and love come in all shapes and sizes. Love can be found in friendships, amongst family or between neighbours. Love is not just an intimate relationship found between husband and wife or parent and child. Being part of a social group, volunteering and joining other networks are just as beneficial in providing these needs for love and human connection.

With this in mind, today, and everyday, remember that each and one of us are beautiful, amazing just the way we are and we all have the need to love and be loved.


Written by Maria Honeker, Holistic Health Mentor & Cancer Support Coach








Maria Honeker

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