Love Yourself In Order to Love Others

Love is energy. It is energy given and energy received. Think about it. A positive, loving thought expends energy just as definitively as the action of lifting your arms to hug someone expends energy. There may be more energy expended in the act of giving a hug than in the firing off of synapses to carry this complex emotion of love around your brain, but both actions are utilizing your body's energy ... and energy takes fuel. And, although it is hard to conceive of, love requires a different kind of fuel than is commonly thrown around at it this time of year. (*Cough* Ahem, chocolate.) And so, in this season of love, here are a couple of quick tips to heighten your energy, mood, and confidence, to replenish your sense of well being and positivity so that you have love to spare.

Massage Your Solar Plexus:

  • One of the easiest ways to quickly soothe stress and encourage a sense of well being is to massage your solar plexus. Locate your solar plexus, just below the breast bone or sternum, and massage it with your left hand, stroking in counter clockwise circles. A solar plexus massage can be done while in the shower or bath, or right before bed.
  • If you like, you can incorporate essential oils into this massage, for instance using a relaxing oil like lavender to soothe stress, or an invigorating oil like peppermint to enliven and clarify. For ideas about other essential oils to use in the solar plexus massage, there are several helpful websites like this one.

Adopt a Power Pose

  • Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and professor at the Harvard Business School gave a TED Talk back in 2012 about the power that your body language has in influencing not only how others perceive you, but your self perception as well. Professor Cuddy found in a series of studies that adopting any of several "high power poses" improved self-perception and greatly reduced cortisol levels in the participants. 
  • Changing your body stance for two minutes changes your body chemistry.
  • Try adopting the "Wonder Woman Pose." Stand with your legs hip-width distance apart, and your hands on your hips. Breathe deeply, or if you are a yoga practitioner do several repetitions of the "lion's breath." Hold the pose for two minutes.

Revitalize With Essential Oils:

  •  To instantly revitalize and improve your mood, drop 1-2 drops of rosemary or peppermint in an essential oil burner or bowl of steaming water. Sit down and inhale the vapors for several minutes while quietly relaxing.

Always remember, you have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. When you are in a physical and mental space of feeling rested, revitalized, confident, and uplifted you will be much better able to positively participate in the energy flow we call love. Love requires self-love, and I don't mean this in any kind of cheesy way. Your body literally needs you to take care of it in order for it to have the fuel reserve to experience and express love. Stress and exhaustion, both physical and mental, cause a certain mental cloudiness, a sluggishness that makes it difficult to feel any emotions – particularly positive ones. While it might seem elementary to hear that you need to practice self-care in the form of proper nutrition, exercise, and sufficient sleep, these simple rules are all too often forgotten. It's so easy to get busy and let these things slip. It's so easy to expend all of your energy in taking care of others (and in thinking this is what you should be doing), that you forget to replenish yourself. In order to expend energy, you first must have a power source. And you are your own power source. You cannot properly experience, express, or receive love if you yourself are depleted.