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…
You can read the FULL version of this article in our quarterly eZine, ‘Holistic Living Magazine,’ look for Edition 6 on this archive page. There’s many more articles about self love waiting for you too!
Irene Vervliet – Naturopathic Doctor