How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count The Ways....

The greatest poem ever written begins with these words:

How do I love thee Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right....
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861

Now, replace the word 'thee' with 'me' and you've got one great sentiment of self-love. It doesn't have to be a 'love' holiday to declare a special day that revolves around loving yourself. In fact, loving yourself, provided it doesn't hurt anyone, isn't all consuming and, doesn't get in the way of personal relationships is super healthy!

You see, when you come to a place of loving yourself, you have no space for the things that may have weighed you down previously. That is to say, by loving and valuing yourself, you will naturally let go of jealousy, resentment, sadness, and anger. Unburdening yourself from these  negative emotions strengthens the insight to who you are. It's purely selfish. Once you come to accept yourself, there's an internal peace that resonates to others as a strong sense of security and maturity. 

That being said, for one self-loving day, take a day for you! Remove yourself from the demands of everyday life and re-group. Make it a practice to love yourself. If you don't know where to begin, here are some simple ways to begin:

Take a walk. One healthy and simple form of self-love is getting outside and taking a walk. When I walk, I do a lot of thinking, I appreciate the sun and the fresh air around me. I appreciate people and their pets. Taking a daily walk has been shown in studies to slow aging. Its one of the healthiest ways to regenerate the body and mind. Walking is a great way to get much-needed Vitamin D -- a mood booster, and a scientifically proven way to promote creativity

Declare a "me" day. Whenever I can, I declare a "me" day and begin making firm, uncancellable plans with myself to do all the self-loving things I never get to do. You may begin your 'me' day any way you desire, since it's your day. You could begin the day by sleeping in for example. Your day could involve an invigorating workout, some calming yoga, treating yourself to a nourishing juice at the juice bar, an epsom soak, massage, or a manicure and a pedicure. Whatever you do that is health-promoting and feels good to you, go ahead and do on your "me" day!

Watch funny shows. Norman Cousins, writer for The Saturday Evening Post and author of the blockbusting best seller Head First studied the biology of hope and healed himself with the healing power of positive thoughts. Cousins suggested that to lift our own spirits (this is especially true for cancer patients) it's a great idea to watch back-to-back reruns of funny sitcoms. The idea is, laughter is good for the soul and the cells, promoting a healing environment in the body, versus negative thoughts, which promote an acidic environment in the body. 

Look at something beautiful. Head out and make it a goal to seek out something beautiful. There's something amazing about seeing something of beauty. It cues us to feel good. Maybe it's a rainbow, the moon, some fresh flowers, or a painting. Beautiful things are visual stimulants of the reward centers of the brain. When you see something beautiful, you release the love-hormone dopamine. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter associated with euphoria. It's your rose-colored glasses. Wear them as you see fit!

Masturbate. Get rid of the shame. Get rid of the guilt. Get yourself off for a day and get over it. Masturbating is good for your health! That dopamine we just talked about gets jacked-up when we jack-off. According to a 2009 University of Michigan study, orgasms cause the body to release the euphoric feel-good hormone, as well as endorphins and, oxytocin, the "love and bonding” hormones.

Clear your pantry of processed and fast foods. Now that you're feeling good it's time to love yourself enough to dump the junk. Loading up on processed or fast foods will undo all the stress you just worked to release, since eating them can create indigestion or worse constipation, which stresses the organs. These create a toxemic and acidic environment in the body that harbors disease. So, while you're feeling good, decide to permanently swap out your processed and fast foods with nourishing, natural plant-based foods and keep the good feelings and improved health coming!

"How do I love thee. Let me count the ways' -- could such words be written or gifted to generations without loving oneself first? It's something to think about.