On This Valentine's Day...
Guys, I’m pretty pumped that my usual Wednesday blog post happens to fall on Valentine’s Day this year! Some of you may not know, but I’m TOTALLY obsessed with love. Being in love, love stories, chick flicks, loving on animals, and spending time with my awesome family that I love so much. I believe there is no greater feeling than love. I may be in the minority in intimate relationships, where I am totally willing to open up my heart completely and risk the lowest lows to experience the highest highs Those insanely wonderful feelings are totally worth it for me.
So why is is that I’m addicted to love? Perhaps you are too?
A Little Science in the Mix...
In Helen Fischer’s TED talk: The Brain in Love they did MRI’s on people in love, people recently dumped and people that had been in love for a long time (i.e. 25 years). In the people in love, the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) in the base of the brain is activated, this area makes dopamine. It’s also part of the very old “reptilian” part of our brain. Tell me if this sounds familiar, this causes: wanting, craving, focus, and motivation. (Sound like how you feel when in love?! I know it sounds like me!) It also happens to be the same area of your brain that is active when you feel the rush of cocaine. Not that I’ve experienced that, just shows you how powerful love is.
Helen says romantic love is like an obsession: it posses you, you lose your sense of self, you can’t stop thinking about the other person, like someone is camping in your head.
Essentially it’s like an addiction, it has 3 of the main signs of addiction: tolerance (you need to see them more and more), withdrawal and relapse.
After you’ve been dumped, love becomes even stronger…. for more on that check out Helen’s TED talk.
But How Does It Affect Your Body??
In LOTS of ways, but here are just a few…
- Love Reduces Stress
- Did you know when you hug someone for long enough (at least 20 seconds), oxytocin is relased? That reduces stress! Yay! More long hugs people! I’m always making Scott do super long hugs, haha, partly cause I know the science and partly cause I just really like it. =) My brother Kai (pictured below) isn’t a fan of long hugs, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get them.
- Love Boosts Immune Health
- Increases levels of IgA (Immunoglobin), an antibody found in mucus membranes
- Love Relieves Pain
- Looking at a photo of a girlfriend or boyfriend has been shown to significantly reduce self-reported pain
- Another study showed women in long-term relationships, had more pain reduction from holding their partner’s hand than a stranger’s hand.
- Love Extends Your Life
- A study showed those with the strongest social relationships, lived 50% longer over those without strong social networks
- Just meditating on love can slow the aging process!!
More details in this article.
Guys don’t forget about self-love, also SUPER important! I think we’re all harder on ourselves mentally than we are on anyone else. What are some easy ways to practice self-love?
- Ladies: When you look in the mirror, you usually notice your faults or what looks wrong, right? Instead, when you look in the mirror think, What’s my best quality/what looks great today?
- Grant yourself a little grace: if you’re like me and you like to accomplish a lot every day… if you have a list of 12 things you want to accomplish in a day, and you get 8 done, instead of thinking “I didn’t get everything done!” Think, “I got 8 things done today, that’s progress!”
- Take care of yourself! Mind, Body & Spirit, whatever that may mean to you.
- Some things I do in this area: yoga, downhill skiing, traveling, playing piano, dancing, listening to music, podcasts, singing, spending time with my boyfriend, family, and friends, praying, meditating, listening to my intuition, taking a bath, sleeping, laughing (at even the smallest things), and getting frequent chiropractic care. =)
I wish you all the happiest of Valentines days, I know this can either be a magical day or a difficult day depending on your circumstances, I’ve definitely experienced both. Or maybe you’re someone that doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day and that’s cool too. Either way, this girl is for sure going to doing a Loving and Kindness Meditation today and is sending love out to all of you! <3
Comment and tell me either what you like to do for self-care or what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day!