Today is Valentine's Day, the day of love!
I was going to talk about organics today but since it's Valentine's day I changed my mind and I will talk about the health benefits of LOVE!
Yes love has health benefits!
And I'm taking all kinds of love: love for a child, a lover, a pet, and even self love.
First, I'll just say I am in no way an expert on love...at all. In fact, I kind of sucked at it until I met my husband. What I do know is the science behind this phenomenon and how it affects our lives, our mind, and our overall health.
First, I'll talk about a lesser practiced kind of love: self love. Self love often gets neglected or over looked as some of us think we need to do, do, do for others in order to show other people love but loving ourselves isn't important.
The truth is: if you are taking time and effort to love yourself you are showing others love through that by filling yourself so they can receive more from you. When you practice self love you're also pouring love into your spiritual life, as you are a temple of The Creator.
Have you ever heard the saying, "you can't pour from an empty cup"?
Well there is so much truth in that. How can you pour out into someone else if you aren't filled?
How can you take care of someone else if you aren't taking care of yourself?
How can you love someone else or show someone how to love you if you don't love yourself?
Maybe physically you can do that, but there will be a lot missing and a real imbalance.
A lack of self love can be very dangerous in some cases and lead to the place of "I'm not good enough."
"Not good enough" leads to feeling unworthy; feeling unworthy leads to unhealthy choices that are beneath your true worth like: choosing a partner that mistreats you or abuses you, not worthy of eating well, not worthy of being sober, not worthy of spending time and effort on yourself. As you can see, a dangerous path is being led.
A few ways we can tap into this self love is by making some time for ourselves. Even for 5 minutes.
In 5 minutes you can close your eyes, place your hand on your heart, breathe, and remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. That you are enough. That you were created for a reason and that you are beautiful and deserving of the best that this world has to offer. Those words will activate self love from the deep depths inside.
My favorite go-to self love act is prayer because I immediately get reminded how incredible this life is and how I am loved so much by God, so to not love myself or care for myself would just be insulting Him. Another practice is a good hair blow out because it makes me feel fresh and nice (coming from a curly haired person, straight hair feels so good sometimes!). A couple more for me are: a delicious and nutritious meal or spending a little extra $$ for some luxury green beauty products/skin care. I know it sounds shallow but it makes me feel good to treat myself and spend money on my self sometimes. A thing I can easily forget to do. Plus nice skin feels wonderful :)
Some more ideas to try: meditation, a night home alone, a fancy dinner out alone, a facial, an at-home mask night, yoga, a long run, a warm bath with essential oils, reading a book that you love or anything that makes you feel loved, whole, healthy and connected to yourself.
Our body loves us and when we take the time to check in with ourselves our body will tell us what it needs, what is good for us and will self-heal.
More on the science of love...
Studies now show that loneliness affects the genes which control the immune system and that relationships and connections will actually keep you alive. Studies have also shown that if someone in a nursing home is given a goldfish, a plant or something to take care of they live longer than the person down the hall with nothing. Studies show that addictions are due to a lack of love. Eating disorders and binge eating also happen when there is a lack of love.
So what would happen if we filled those areas of life, with which we struggle, with love?
It all starts with connections. We were designed to live in relationship with people. We were meant to share openly with each other, heal each other, pray for each other and support each other. Don't you feel 100 times better after venting to a friend or partner?! I know I do!
Have you ever noticed that the judgiest person in the room is the one who is judging themselves the hardest?
When we lack fulfillment inside of ourselves we often tend to either project it onto other people or try to find the negative in everything and everyone so we can feel better about ourselves.
What if we instead of projecting negativity we projected the love that we felt we were lacking?
One thing I love to do if I am feeling neglected by others is to reach out to someone and ask them how they are doing and with that I immediate feel full, because in order to receive the love we want we need to give it.
I heard this once, that if I'm feeling like I want attention from my husband, instead of feeling sad, or starting a fight, to walk over to him and give him love. I tried this and simply just started rubbing his back and he started rubbing mine, and started a conversation with me. Right there I received the love and attention that I was craving from him. That can go into any aspect of life! Give what you want to receive! If you want support, go give it! If you want to be served, go serve someone.
Last things I'll mention are the health benefits of L-O-V-E:
-Love activates Oxitocen, a chemical which is known to lower blood pressure, decrease stress and even boost immunity. Oxitocen reduces aches and pains, increases energy and elevates our mood.
-People who have successful long-term relationships practice generosity, forgiveness, patience and acceptance. Gratitude and appreciation are often said to be the most important qualities in a successful relationship, and there is much research to support this. Studies show that practicing forgiveness and gratitude contributes to Neuroplasticity which, to keep it brief, is the way in which we can rewire our brain to think new and positive things instead of negativity prior mistakes.
- Having strong loving connections in your life will make you live longer and will greatly reduce stress.
- And let's face it, love makes you glow! There is no better look than the look of love. The hormones activated by love relax your body, mind and release tension!
I love you all and hope you have an amazing day filled with all types of love
Nobody is free of wounds, but you can turn charcoal into a diamond- Bernie Siegel