Loving Your Mind, Body and Life
February is the month of love… pink hearts, red roses, chocolates and fine dining. For many, the focus is on Valentine’s Day and romance. This year, I invite you to think about love more broadly and focus on loving yourself as well.
Love is defined as “a feeling of deep affection, to adore or to like very much”. So often we feel this emotion toward our significant other, our children, even toward friends – but do we cultivate self-love?
Studies show that if we treat ourselves with the kindness and affection we pour on others, we live healthier and happier lives. Loving yourself can reduce depression and anxiety, boost your confidence and willpower and give you strength to handle adversity.
Love your mind
We can be our own worst enemies. For many of us, there is a critical inner voice that drowns out the others, blasting your decisions and perceived short-comings. Take charge of this negative self-talk by building yourself up. Give yourself compliments each day, taking time to notice your efforts and successes. If you find that you are being critical of yourself, notice it and let it go. Think of something positive. Treat yourself like you would your own child, or your best friend.
If possible, I encourage you to have your hormones tested so that you know what’s going on with the stress levels in your body, which could be related to your mind. For example, the recent blood work I had done showed that I am constantly in fight or flight mode. I’m currently working on calming my mind. I take specific supplements, but I’m also incorporating yoga and meditation to retrain my brain to be less reactive.
Love your body
Nourish your body with healthy, organic foods which provided great fuel and energy. Don’t pollute the one body you have with the “Harmful Seven.” If you’re unfamiliar with the Harmful Seven, these are the ingredients that Life Time Foundation has identified as damaging to your health. They include:
• Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils
• High-Fructose Corn Syrup
• Hormones & Antibiotics
• Processed & Artificial Sweeteners
• Artificial Colors & Flavors
• Artificial Preservatives
• Bleached Flour
Along with cleaning up your diet, make sure to move your body every day, even if it is going for a 30 minute walk outside. You don’t need a gym or a special class. That said, keep in mind that it is important to find ways to challenge your body. I recommend incorporating variety into your workouts which will lead to better results. With exercise, the focus should follow the theme of loving yourself – it’s not about a specific number on the scale or comparing yourself to someone else. Instead, make your body it’s best, at every age.
Love your life
Did you know that there are oodles of research about the benefits of gratitude journaling? Celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Oprah have talked about their practice of pausing to reflect and write in their gratitude journals. A study conducted at Yale showed that a gratitude journal will result in higher alertness, determination, enthusiasm, attentiveness and energy. Another study by researchers at Harvard indicates that focusing on gratitude improves health and strengthens relationships. Still another study at Columbia says that gratitude improves the immune system, while reducing anxiety and depression.
So I challenge you – don’t wait! Start now, in the month of February and notice all the positives in your life. Be grateful.
There will be hardships along your journey, there will be failures and setbacks. There will be moments when you are filled with fear. It is ok to feel these things as they come, but don’t dwell in negativity. Make a conscience effort to surround yourself with things that encourage you, make you feel great and help you want to do good for others.
Love your mind, love your body, love your life.