Did you know that optimal cardiovascular health means that you are attending to all aspects of your heart—the physical, the emotional and the spiritual?
Every thought and feeling that you have creates a cascade of hundreds, if not thousands of neurotransmitters leading to positive and negative effects within the mind and body.
For example, when you’re engaged in a loving conversation with your partner, something very different is happening in your heart than when you’re filled with anger and frustration. Coming from a place of love protects the heart, whereas feelings of disconnect or anger leave the heart more vulnerable.
Love is a powerful emotion in which we demonstrate kindness, compassion and deep affection. Love can be self-directed and directed at others. It is a bonding force that benefits the mind, body and soul.
Benefits of Loving Oneself and Others:
- Builds self-esteem, self compassion, and leads to better self-care
- Heightens desire to engage in better lifestyle choices as in food & fitness
- Diminishes stress, anxiety and depression.
- Love encourages the body’s production of oxytocin, the “feel-good” or “love” hormone which reduce cardiovascular stress.
- Oxytocin improves the immune system, decreases inflammation, and can be a powerful pain reliever.
- Love leads to production in your brain of norepinephrine and dopamine leading to heightened feelings of joy and pleasure.
- Sleeping next to someone you love relaxes the mind and body which helps you to sleep better.
Love need not be relegated to a partner or children. The beautiful part of love is that we can expand our hearts and our way of being in the world to find ways to experience love every single day.
How to Build More Love into Life
Like so many other positive emotions that may or may not come easily to you, love is an emotion that can be developed with time and practice. Although it already exists within us, by stopping and allowing appreciation, gratitude, joy and love to sink into the recesses of our minds and bodies, we can make this feeling more expansive.
- Deliberately tune into to this emotion with friends, family members, the self, nature, animals and pets and whatever else evokes this strong sensation.
- Engage in acts of generosity and loving kindness.
- Think of ways to make others feel happier and more cared for.
- Smile more often as it releases the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine into your brain eliciting a more positive mood.
- Even better than smiling is breaking into full blown laughter once a day. Laughter is greater for the heart, for oxygenating the brain and raising energy levels.
- Loving touch as in hugs, holding hands, rubbing noses, putting your arm around someone, and spooning in bed instantly reduces stress levels, improves mood and has a relaxation effect.
- Be more playful in your loving relationship and make love often.
- Remind your partner about how you feel about them and find time to connect, regardless of how busy you are.
- Make a point of bringing some joy into your life every day. Joy and love are intimately woven together.
- Play, flirt, dance, and sing. These are all mini expressions of love.
Most Importantly Love Yourself Unconditionally—even when you screw up. Treat yourself as you would a child or friend you love dearly. This leads to more self-compassion which then permeates your relationships with others.
Love begins with the self and feeling worthy—which of course you are. Then we are poised to bring the love into our relationships with others…Ultimately love has the power to expand and make a difference for the greater good of all.
What are your favorite ways to show love to your self and others?
As always I love hearing from you. Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.