Given it was Valentine’s day yesterday and there is a whole lotta love and devotion, not to mention chocolate, and cut flowers (you know they die when you cut them right?!Buy a plant instead) going around on socials, and in stores, I thought what better time than to look at ways we can cultivate a little self-love.
What is self-love?
Not the narcissistic, egotistical characteristics. The nurturing and kindness that we often neglect to reflect in.
Self-love is being compassionate with oneself, saving space for our short coming, non-judgmentally accepting all inherent aspects, through positive actions, thoughts and behaviours. Showing appreciation to ourselves in entirety we can increase our well-being.
Not only do we cultivate a healthy foundation for positive relationship with ourselves but with those we love.
As the saying goes (and for good reason), It is only when we fill our own cup, can we help fed others.
I know in myself when I don’t feel the love within that this can only reflect onto those around me through my own thoughts, feelings and subsequent behaviours. Our own shitty self-defeating attitudes and actions need to be cleaned up before we can look to others to fill our void with roses, fluffy toys and chocolates.
Love is the source of all good. Where there is fear, anger, resentment, love is absent.
There are many positive and healthy ways that we can cultivate the loving we crave for ourselves. A holistic approach takes into consideration all aspects; mental, physical and environmental. What we eat to what thoughts create in our reality and what environment we find ourselves in.
Growing your sense of compassion inwards not only boosts your overall sense of well-being, contentment and happiness but will turn you into a magnet, like attracts like after all..
Starting with nutrition, it is crucial that we are eating a whole food diet, with food as close to their natural state as possible. This ensures your body is running in prime form.
A healthy body is a healthy mind and since we create our own thoughts, let make them healthy too with the following ideas. Ditch the processed sugar and nil nutrient Cadbury's for a healthy version.
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp. maple or preferred sweetener
¼ cup chopped nuts and seeds
¼ cup goji berries
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
Mix cacao powder and melted coconut oil, adding preferred sweetener. Pour into silicone mould. Top with chopped nuts, seeds and goji berries. Chill in fridge, when set break into pieces.
This homemade chocolate is super easy and working with the equal parts of powder to oil, you can add any flavour mix up to create a quick, easy and nutritious snack! Try mixing 2 tbsp. nut butter through and finely chopped dates, sprinkle with flaked sea salt for a snicker’s fix!
Small incremental changes to our diet can have significant effects on our mental well-being. A diet rich in wholefoods feeds the microbiome (little bugs) that fuels our bodies.
All hormones are regulated in the gut so it only makes sense that, ‘good food, good mood’… right?!
This is a corny one, however try it and then tell me it’s too mushy.. Write yourself a LOVE LETTER; as if you were writing to someone you loved.
What are the things you LOVE about yourself, what makes you attractive to others?
Is it your humour, your ability to make everyone laugh?
Are you thoughtful?
A great communicator?
Your determination and drive?
Do you have a little quirk that makes you unique?
If you begin to think negatively, re-frame these thoughts by embodying the opposite. Recognise without judgement this aspect and reflect how you may create the opposite.
Write down all the characteristics and why you LOVE yourself so much. Keep it in a side draw or somewhere so that you can read it when you are feeling a little down about yourself and need a little self-love appreciation.
Our environment can have a significant impact on how we view ourselves and the world. Spending time with people that have a positive outlook on life can boost your own feelings of self-worth. It is in our psyche, that of our primal nature that we are hard-wired to feel good when connected within a community.
Physiologically when we are connected in our network we are delivered with a hit of dopamine, Oxycontin, serotonin and endorphins. These hormones and neurotransmitters have provided, throughout human evolution the reward of feeling good.
Cultivating a strong and supportive community is incredibly powerful in promoting optimal holistic health. Research has shown that the quality of our social connections impacts physiological functions such as blood pressure, metabolism and stress hormones, immunity and sense of well-being.
A great way to cultivate self- love in a positive, health boosting way is to walk with a group of like-minded people in Nature. Spending time outdoors promotes positive mental health and similarly, behavioural changes within a group such as mindfulness practice, make a significant difference in adapting new habits, maintaining and producing health positive benefits.
This week I recognise that I’ve walked off path a little so with gentle assertion I lovingly adjust my steps, re-correct my course and put one foot in front of the other.
How do you self-love?
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