5 Ways Love Makes You Smarter

View as Slideshow

 

1. Marry someone similar to you, if a bit smarter

1. Marry someone similar to you, if a bit smarteriStock/Squaredpixels
With your spouse in the house, you have a built-in brain-booster sitting right across the breakfast table. Get the biggest cranial lift from your relationship with these five tactics. A Seattle Longitudinal Study looked at 169 couples in 7-year intervals between 1956 and 1984 and found that the most stable relationships were those in which people were similar in intelligence, flexibility of attitudes, social responsibility, and education levels. Researchers also found that after 14 years together, spouses with the better grasp of verbal meanings and word fluency had pulled the lower-functioning spouses up to their level.

2. Hold hands whenever possible

2. Hold hands whenever possibleiStock/Vakidzasi
In addition to creating feelings of warmth and closeness, holding hands can help inoculate you from stress. One study using brain scans found that when married women were told they were about to receive an electric shock, just holding their husbands' hands minimized their brains' response to the threat. Women in the closest relationships experienced the greatest decrease in stress-related brain activity.

3. Kiss at least once a day

3. Kiss at least once a dayiStock/teksomolika
This intimate touch triggers the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol — but that's not all. Researchers say that when we kiss, we activate nearly half of the cranial nerves that affect cerebral function. All of the sensory information of a kiss — the smell and warmth of your partner's skin, the taste and feel of soft lips — shoots into your brain, delighting your neurons and forging new connections.

Content continues below ad

4. Put pictures of your honey on your desk

4. Put pictures of your honey on your deskiStock/lechatnoir
Brain scans show that looking at a photo of your beloved, especially in the early stages of your relationship, activates a part of the brain associated with pleasure and reward as well as focused attention and motivation. This same area is triggered when a cocaine addict gets a fix -- so you could literally get a healthy 'high' from looking at a picture of your new love. When you're in the throes of new love, your prefrontal cortex also gets into the action, anticipating more time together and planning future events.

5. Just be together

5. Just be togetheriStock/rez-art
One study found that average blood pressure was lower when a person spent time with his or her spouse than when they spent time alone or with other people. Even if you don't talk, just spend time in the same room, reading, watching TV, surfing the web, or doing crossword puzzles.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.