“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha.
Self-love is an important thing to have in all aspects of life. Valentine’s Day can be a time of sadness for some who perceive that their life is incomplete, but this should not be a time to focus on what you don’t have, rather than what you do. So, whether you are single or not, this is a great time to practice more self-love.
So what does this actually mean and does it have any benefits, or is it just another hippy mantra??
Having more self-love will lessen depression anxiety, enhance recovery from stress, increase optimism and will help you in sticking to different lifestyle such as changes in exercise or diet. Focusing on the good things in your life and being grateful for them can boost your mood and increase your serotonin levels.
Serotonin is known as body’s natural ‘Feel Good Hormone’ and in the body it helps to make us feel relaxed, happy, and confident. It also has many other uses such as appetite control, mood and behaviour regulator, it impacts every part of your body.
Other practical things you can do are;
- Take 5-HTP, a naturally occurring compound that increases serotonin in the body, your feel-good hormone
- Add raw cacao powder into your diet, yes, it is true, chocolate is good for you. See the amazing Cacao Energy Balls at the bottom of this page. Not only do they increase energy, as well as being a healthy food source, the raw cacao will also boost serotonin levels.
- Probably the easiest thing you can do is just go outside and turn off your phone. Going for a walk and taking in fresh air and day light will improve serotonin levels, it helps you to reconnect the nature and gives you a break from all the facebook posts of what we see as ‘everyone else’s happiness’.
Self-love isn’t only about boosting your mood though. There are other ways in which to practice better self-love like, such as becoming more mindful. This means recognising your different feelings and when you are experiencing emotional distress or mental suffering. Never try and ‘push down’ negative feelings as this does not work. If you can allow yourself some quiet space and let the feeling come. Sit with it and ask yourself the question, ‘ I wonder why I am feeling ……..’. Do not judge yourself or this feeling. We are supposed to feel many different emotions, not just happiness. Try and be happy and content wherever you are, rather than just always wanting to get to the end result.
Self-love is also about acting on more of what fulfils you and sometimes this means turning away from saying ‘yes’ to everything and supporting the needs of others and putting yourself first. Practicing good health care is also practice of self-love, like exercising, having a healthy, nutritional diet, getting proper sleep and having healthy social interactions. Further to this, set boundaries. We’ve all heard of the phrase, too much of the good stuff is bad stuff, so limit yourself on certain things to not overwhelm yourself.
Practicing meditation is also a very useful tool to making yourself feel good and clear your mind. There are several scientifically proven ways in which meditation can be of benefit:
- Reduces stress
- Improves concentration, which can also help with mindfulness.
- Encourages a healthy lifestyle.
- Increases self-awareness.
- Slows aging.
- Benefits cardiovascular and immune health.