More and more people we encounter today are depressed. They sometimes do not even know why. In reality the society we live in today keeps everyone busy in the matrix, and they forget to nurture themselves by doing things they love.
Self-love is important to revitalize our lives and be in a state of appreciation for oneself. This is enhanced daily through taking responsibility and doing things they love and excite them.
Begin your journey of this ongoing process with a few of these ideas below.
Emotions trigger a cascade of biochemical changes in the body that affect the way the body functions and how we feel. Our endocrine and nervous systems constantly communicate with the immune system via hormones and neuropeptides.
Emotions can induce health or illness and, in turn our state of health can induce emotions. Cortisol is the hormone that is released in a stressful state along with adrenaline. It plays an important part of the “fight or flight” response, helping prepare the body for emergency action.
Excessive cortisol over a prolonged period can contribute to deplete the adrenal glands and predispose one to chronic fatigue, thyroid suppression, hypertension, blood sugar problems, abdominal fat, increased feeling of anxiety, and suppress production of serotonin making one feel anxious and depressed.
Sapolsky R. M., (2004) notes in his book ‘Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers’ that the body cannot interpret what is an actual threat from imagined.
The body responds with cortisol and other complex biochemical stress reactions in a similar manner for a perceived or real danger or stressful event or actually experiencing the event. This is important to consider when choosing thoughts.
Umberson D. and Montez J.K., (2011), studies found ‘poor quality of social ties’ adversely affect immunity, physical and mental health. Banish people who are toxic in your life.
The toxic relationships and/or people in your life will consume your time, your resources, and your sense of well-being. Remove these toxic relationships and people from your life you have every right to do this, regardless of who they are in your life.
No one has the right to bring negativity into your environment, cause you to feel hurt or fear of any kind, make you feel bad about who you are, or try to coerce you to live the life they think is best for you.
When you rid yourself of toxic people you take back control of your emotional happiness. You have a choice here; accept responsibility of who and how you spend your time.
- Develop friendships and relationships that are supportive; this positively influences health and supports the immune system.
- Surround yourself with people who uplift you, listen to you, empower you and make you feel happy by simply having them around, who allow you to grow and change, which encourage your dreams, make you laugh, support your plans and accept you unconditionally.
- Choose to forgive and move on.
- Write at least three things you are grateful for every day. Train the mind to be grateful. According to Wood AM, (2008) practicing gratitude before sleeping enhances sleep duration and quality.
- Do pleasurable things you enjoy e.g. Go to the movies or have a coffee with a friend, listen to music, listening to guided imagery, are useful ways to bring one’s emotions into balance.
- Laugh more it boost the immune system. Laughing instantly reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine, and increases the production of serotonin and endorphins which reduce effects of stress.
Laughing reduces the risk of heart disease. Laughing expands the inner walls of the arteries which increase the ability of blood to flow around the body, and, this positive effect lasts for up to 45 minutes after the laughter has stopped.
Study by Dunbar R.I.M. et. al. (2011) concluded that social laughter elevates pain thresholds. A smile costs nothing but enriches those who receive it.
Remind yourself what you like doing and start doing it. Explore what you love and this will bring unexpected joy back into your reality. You could start by writing down your passions. Notice things that give pleasures as you go through your day.
- Healthy eating is one important way to maintain and enhance physical health. Prepare delicious nourishing meals. Explore the Farmer’s Market and talk with the vendors. They give great advice and tips about meals you can make with their food.
- Engage in activities that help you to stay fit such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, golf, hiking, swimming, sailing, kayaking, volleyball, soccer, rugby, walking or running which allows one to get out into the fresh air.
- Exercise also increases endorphins in the body which help people to feel good. Exercise also relieves pent-up tension.
- Sleep is importance to wellbeing and happiness. Most of us have experienced the consequences of sleep loss. Develop a regular sleep routine. It is beneficial to go to bed at the same time each night not to affect circadian rhythms.
When working well, one will feel sleepy at bed time. Try not to ignore this by staying up, as this is a window of opportunity for sleep. Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of bedtime. The blue light emitted by the phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive to sleep.
- Learning to relax is vital for self-love. Relax with an essential oil bath of lavender according to UMDC (2015) lavender helps with “insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue”. Release toxins with Epson salts bath and give the body a magnesium boost.
- Gardening is a wonderful activity that connects one to nature and allows one to also grow delicious food.
- Join a community garden or grow food. Pretty et al. (2011) as part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment concluded participating in the outdoors “positively influences human health and wellbeing.”
- Being outdoors also allows one to get exposed to sunlight to enable the body to absorb vitamin D. No garden – grow edible plants in containers.
- Be passionate about taking a walk in nature and feel the sense of tranquillity of nature. Engulf yourself in the sounds, scents and the wildlife that live there.
- Nature allows one to unplug, allowing one the space to experience relaxation and acceptance, this in turn strengthens the immune system. Studies at Stanford asserts being in nature reduces stress and promotes both mental and physical health.
It allows one to connect with our true selves. All of the research points to the fact that the closer we are to nature, the happier we feel. Consider taking a walk in nature. Join a walking or hiking group.
Clothes have a way of reflecting mood and attitude. When you look good, you feel good. Find the proper clothes for your body type.
Love yourself enough to pamper yourself with the things that make you feel good or make your life a little easier. Have a spa day. Get a massage. Buy flowers. Spend an afternoon reading a book. Enjoy High Tea.
Watch the sunset. Get away for the weekend for a mini adventure. When you make yourself a priority you boost your self-esteem.
A hobby can be a real life changer it supports psychological well-being. Hobbies excite people to learn new skills, make new friends and live more fulfilled lives.
A hobby offers the time and space to relax, which is good for one’s health and wellbeing and bring us pleasure and delight. Hobbies encourage one to take a break. Greater fitness can be developed through active hobbies.
Those who feel overwhelmed at a job, for example, can benefit from hobbies because they provide an outlet for stress and something to look forward to after a hard day or week at a stressful job.
Even if you currently do not have a hobby, consider developing one. Consider taking up a hobby such as painting, drawing, and pottery, playing the piano, guitar, photography, gardening and writing.
- Make time to engage with positive friends and family. According to Uchino et al (1996), having a good social network has positive effects on the immune systems, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.
- Join social clubs and voluntary organisations. Relax, unplug, explore and discover new parts of oneself.
- Tender love for a favourite person boosts health. Intimacy supports the immune system.
- Practice living in the present. Living in the present will change your life as you will be living in acceptance. You are accepting life as it is, not as how you wish it could be.
When you are living in the present, you are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening. The past and future are illusions, they don’t exist.
Live in the present. Enjoy whatever you’re doing at the present moment.
What can you do to bring yourself back to the present?
- Practice conscious breathing to bring the mind back to the present.
- Engage in fun.
- Seek professional help. If necessary, seek help from a coach, therapists, counsellor or support group.
Explore your spirituality it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself and those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you. This involves having a sense of perspective beyond the day-to-day of life.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation to bring your body and mind together. By setting aside time for daily mindfulness practices you enrich your life.
- Listen to inspirational music.
- Read something inspirational, it can be transformative.
- Woodyard CD, (2011) study found ‘Regular practice of yoga promotes strength, endurance, flexibility and facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control, while cultivating a sense of calmness and well-being ‘. Practice yoga and meditation for self-love.
- Try something new. Learn a new language, do a course online, join a philosophy group, take a cooking class. Learn how to be a yoga instructor. Listen to Ted Talks.
- Treat yourself to the inspiration, fun, knowledge, wisdom and perspective gained from travel.
- Go places you’ve never been to before. Travel allows one to capture the sense of wonder and has us longing for more destinations to visit, cultures to experience, food to eat, and people to meet.
- If you are feeling stuck on what your purpose is, what you want to do with your life, the career or educational path you want to pursue, travel… you might be surprised about what you discover as a new sense of life purpose and direction. With all the newness in your life, you’re also opened to new insights, ways of seeing the world and living. Experience more joy in life.
Participate in self-love each day and become more alive and rich in experience in your journey. Inundate your life with fun and self-love activities.
Take time to recharge and energize and remember to do all the things you love. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Enjoy the journey of life.
You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.
Irene Vervliet – Naturopathic Doctor
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