February is the month of love and highlighted by the celebration of Valentines’ day. As we begin to think of all the people in our lives whom we wish to show our love and appreciation, there is one person you shouldn’t forget – You!
Self love is the most important relationship you can have and is also the foundation on which all other relationships are formed. It is accepting yourself just as you are, right now and acknowledging your values and boundaries and honoring them consistently. It is being able to say no without guilt, and saying yes to you. The benefits of self love are numerous. Inner peace, confidence and the ability to make healthier decisions in every area of your life are enabled. When you outwardly love yourself, others learn how to treat you by example. When your internal reservoir of love is filled, you can be more loving to others and of greater service to your community.
There is a lot of scientific research available regarding the importance of self-love and how it can also have a positive impact on the immune system. Our bodies carry millions of cells that perform an organized and systematic exchange of information to other cells, organs, tissues and glands to function efficiently while slow functioning cells are quickly eliminated serving to maintain our optimal health.
When our bodies do not recognize these slow functioning cells, they can send the wrong information to our organs, eventually causing the immune system to malfunction. This may cause susceptibility to fatigue, lack of sleep, proper diet and illness resulting in a visit to the doctor.
Everything in our universe is made of energy. Each person, plant and animal has their own unique energy and frequency. Everything works in a universal and synergistic dance, acting and reacting with each encounter. The movement of energy within the body is important to healing and our emotions play a critical role in the movement and transfer of that energy.
Medical research has shown the dramatic effect of a simple hug. The act of embracing someone raises the hemoglobin level in the body. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to our organs resulting in improved function, hormone regulation and healthy cell growth, thus supporting the immune system. When we are self-critical, our sympathetic nervous system elevates the stress hormones in our bodies. When this fight or flight reaction takes over, we can experience difficulty learning, problem solving or discovering the underlying reason why we find ourselves in difficult situations.
The holistic approach of energy medicine teaches that emotions are stored in our body. Emotions are picked up and received through the body’s seven main energy centers known as Chakras. These rotating vortexes receive and transfer the life force energy to more than three thousand smaller chakra centers while simultaneously removing stagnant energy no longer needed. This intricate web of energy centers is in a constant state of flux, responding to every thought, action and feeling we have. The third chakra known as the solar plexus is thought to be the command center of self-love. Located just above the navel, it directs energy to the gall bladder, spleen, stomach, liver, pancreas, and small intestine. It also provides energy to the adrenal glands, thyroid, prostate, pituitary, hypothalamus, ovaries and testes. These glands release hormones into the body which regulate your organs and contribute to the overall health of your immune system.
The thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves along with the challenges and stress of daily life play a notable role in the health of our immune system. Self-loving thoughts and feelings can work to improve the health of the immune system. When we become disappointed in ourselves or react emotionally to negative things that we experience, we can weaken our immune system and hold onto toxins.
The immune system’s intelligence is constantly monitoring the feelings we have about ourselves and it is thought that embracing authentic feelings of self love can improve its function. As they say, talk is cheap and the act of just thinking kind thoughts cannot move enough energy alone to promote a healthy immune system. It requires a sincere and mindful loving emotion for one’s self.
The first step to self-love is to become mindful of your thoughts. We often think unkindly of ourselves several times a day without even realizing it. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, put up a bright red stop sign in your mind and replace it with a kind and nurturing thought. Take a few moments to envelop that thought and then put it into a feeling and fully embrace the emotion. Correcting and replacing the unconstructive thoughts we have is perhaps the biggest step you can take to maintain a healthy immune system.
If you are asking where to start, try this exercise. Sit comfortably in a quiet space and close your eyes. Take a few slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth clearing your mind. Feel your body begin to relax from your head to your toes. Next, think about a person, a special place you love to go or a pet you cherish that brings about feelings of unconditional love.
Fully visualize how much you love this person, pet or place, and let the feelings grow. Tap into the emotions you are feeling and allow those to expand, as if you were holding all this warmth and love in your hands. When you let yourself feel this unconditional love, you will find that very little can hold you back from the intense, profound emotions that stem from it.
Take all those feelings and let them move into your body. Allow yourself to open and completely absorb those emotions applying them directly to you. Affirm that you are as wonderful as the person, place or pet to which you direct your love. You are special!
Take a few minutes each day to experience these emotions of love that are all about you and just for you. Experiencing even a small amount of self-love every day can open wonderful channels of energy and opportunities that will extend to a healthier immune system. It will also improve your own self perspective, your life and your relationships with others. Embrace yourself today for a healthier tomorrow!