4 ways to get your daily dose of self-love
Neurotransmitters and getting a DOSE of self-love
I first came across neurotransmitters when I was studying nutrition. Learning about chemicals which send signals to your brain was fascinating. While I was focussing mainly on how what I ate and drank would affect how I felt, I started to wonder how these mighty messengers could also be influenced by writing and more explicitly writing in connection to self-love.
Further study showed that neurotransmitters are affected by behaviour. Which means that they would be affected by writing activities. Words have the power to change lives and have as I’ve said so many times been my saviour.
My journey to self-love involved many things, but one consistent component has been writing (and reflection). I believe writing and reflection play a powerful part in exposing what is holding you back from loving yourself and aiding in the creation of the right environment for it to thrive. It is through writing that I have been able to create many daily actions on my journey to self-love.
Writing lets us to connect to our light so that we can see the world through a different lens.
- is not a place that we are heading to on the way to some strange destination; it is a feeling, an acceptance and a practice
- is the foundation for being all that you can be
- inspires you to have the freedom to be
- means that your stories do not own you, it means that you have a strong foundation upon which you can move forward.
When you crack open your heart to loving yourself unconditionally, life will change. Plus a healthy dose of self-love will boost those feel good hormones, and that has to be good – right?
What is love?
That’s an interesting question. Some say that it is
- The romantic connection between two people
- A bond with their children
- The relationship that they have with God, Grace, The Universe
- The connection with their animals, friends and family
- A chemical reaction in the brain to some environmental stimulation
- A funny feeling in their body, which they can’t explain but they know it exists
Romantic love aside and there is plenty of research about this which we can draw on for considering what love is. However, this is not it. Love cannot be traded, exchanged, given away, demanded, it is a part of our essence and values. It is something that exists yet remains undefinable. Which is delightful.
Whatever it is and however you describe it, love exists. We are love; love lives in all of us, and we exist because of love. For me, love drives our stories, the ones about you, them and us. Stories are the foundation of humanity. Therefore love is the foundation of our humanity.
What is self?
Self is all that is you. It is what makes you, you and distinguishes you from others. It includes what you believe about yourself. Self-image is how you see yourself, and how you think others see you which will affect your confidence, self-esteem (how you feel about yourself), self-love and outlook on life.
How you know, see and feel about yourself is called perception. You will see yourself one way and not always as others see you. When you have a distorted sense of self, it does affect how you feel about who you are and what your purpose is. The more distorted your identity becomes, the more you find it hard to find meaning in the world.
Getting to know the real you is a lifelong project, and it does not have to be hard – once you take responsibility for you. We make it hard because we are hard on ourselves. I have spent a lifetime making it hard for me to love me, and then I woke up and made a decision no more. The more I practised and in my case wrote the more natural it became to let go of the old me.
Are you willing to question this sense of yourself so that you can move from fear into love?
We are spirit living a human existence, and our spirit carries our love vibration. Our human desire is to be connected to that vibration and to live from it. The trouble is the human system being very complex triggers off all kind of things in response to our environment and chemically stunts our capacity to love. The bottom line is that when the hormones for self-love are not triggered in the brain, we live in the shadow of fear.
Fear stops us fully experiencing and being able to create a nourishing and loving environment.
The good news is that at some point someone or something will wake you up and when you become aware, then you can make a conscious decision to pull the right ingredients into your life.
The key is to not leave self-love to chance and to do things that will trigger those feel good hormones and to keep doing them. This is not, so we live in some kind of weird self-love vacuum, more that we bring rituals (practice) into our lives that create a fantastic foundation for being. Love can free us, or it can bind us, that is your choice. When you put self-love, self-worth and self-value into your heart and soul, then you can live a life that has meaning.
Before we travel into the heady world of self-love, what drew me in neurotransmitters after the nutrition stuff was reading about the scientific research around love and what happens when we fall in and out of love. There is a great article here. All of this information started off scrambling my brain.
Everything about us is connected, so if one system is out of sync, then the rest will follow. For example, if I abuse my body with crap food, it affects how I feel and how I feel about myself, when I don’t feel good about me I may then think sod it and do something else which stresses me. And so on.
What I discovered was when I asked the question ‘do I love myself enough to?’ and then took good action to look after my human, my spirit came alive, and my soul felt loved. It got easier and easier to work through my shit.
Consider these neurotransmitters – your daily DOSE of self-love
Dopamine called the motivation and reward molecule. This is according to research critical for love to thrive and survive between couples. It also makes sense for self-love to thrive as well. We all like to feel rewarded so that we stay motivated to continue.
Oxytocin called the bonding molecule. This is what bonds babies to mothers and lovers to each other. Oxytocin has been shown to have two sides to it. The positive everything in the world is rosy side and the side that is exhibited when things go wrong in love which leads to jealousy, envy and suspicion, i.e. a lack of trust.
Serotonin, the molecule of happiness. Serotonin is responsible for helping us to feel confident and enabling a stable mood. It is also part of the pathway to a good nights sleep. Lack of sleep will wear anyone down.
Endorphins, molecules of security and peace. These are known as natures painkillers. When you do not love yourself, you often will engage in activities which create dis-ease in the body and could trigger a pain response. By undertaking more loving activities, eating better, exercising, meditation and introducing other self-care opportunities, you will reduce the dis-ease and the related pain.
Four things you can do to get your daily DOSE of self-love
Which don’t include writing – I know how bizarre…
Eat a healthy breakfast
I could wax lyrical about breakfasts, but if I don’t start the day with something delicious and fulfilling then all day I feel dissatisfied and out of sorts with me and the world. Here’s the thing I get when I eat breakfast.
I’m getting good nutrition; I’m eating mindfully, loving every mouthful, feeling at peace and know that my mind, body and soul will reward me by functioning well.
A typical breakfast for me is homemade almond milk, buckwheat porridge, seeds (chia and sunflower), nuts, fruit and some superfoods (maca and ashwagandha are just two). I tell you it is orgasmic.
Go for a walk
Walking is another life saver. Long before I had the three dogateers, I walked for miles every day after work. It allowed me to clear my head, get connected to Mother Earth and to see things in a new light. It also helped me through physical pain. When I thought I couldn’t move, I made myself take the dogs out for a walk no matter what. Slowly I recovered and even now when I am in pain, I go for a walk, and it seems to help me. I also see it as a reward for sitting and working. It is meditative and restorative.
Speak to yourself with loving kindness
Start to notice how you speak to yourself. These words are etched on your body. While you may tattoo yourself with a positive affirmation, you would not dream of writing your words of hatred on you for all to see. Your body can hear your words. Notice what they are and start to change them.
What I find helps me is to keep post-it notes in the kitchen and bathroom and write little love notes to me. I feel fab when I discover them (not sure how I could have forgotten I wrote them) and they help reinforce a positive self-image and love. When I find the notes, I say out loud what is on them.
I also start the day by looking in the mirror and saying something loving to me. And whenever I catch myself about to criticise me, I turn it around.
Allow your heart space to open to self-love
The heart space is often clogged with the mess of our lives. It is therefore natural to close this off to more pain. Think of it like putting a bird in a cage, closing the door and throwing away the key.
All is not lost.
Do not look for the key, let the key find you. This means to acknowledge that you have caged your heart and you are saying that you dare to allow it to open. It can be scary to let go and often you do not know that you are holding your heart in a tight grip.
When you are first woken up to loving you, your natural reaction is to protect your heart. However, this is the perfect time to work on opening it to you.
Place a hand on your heart, take your focus there and imagine that you are getting ready to send love out. Switch directions and shower yourself instead. Feels good, right?
Many find that sending out love is easy, but that through the many hurts receiving love is a little harder. This is ok. Being conscious that your heart is a channel will support you to being able to focus that love into the core of your being.
Keep focusing on bringing love in and holding the door of the cage open and slowly letting the prison fall away. Can you feel the expansion in your chest or the space between your breasts? It’s as if someone is holding your breastbone apart.
When I do this, I feel at peace with me and the world. I see things from my divine inner light and a place of love. Even if I initially want to do something opposite. Boy oh boy – so much work to do (smiles).
Make a date with self-love
The best time to start is now. Ask do I love myself enough to? And get one with it. Your neurotransmitters will adore you for it.
What are your self-love tips?
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