Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovely people! I wanted to send a message out to everyone about the healing benefits of Love.
First of all, a beautiful and heartfelt quote from a poet who expresses so well how love can deeply affects our hearts.
"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor do you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep" 

Pablo Neruda

LOVE…a powerful, probably the most powerful, four letter word that has a huge impact on all of us from young to old, poor or rich, worldwide, nobody escapes the grip it can place upon your life! Love can be a challenging thing to define in words. It is more of a deep emotion that is felt within your whole being…one that can only be expressed through the heart.

A famous quote by Helen Keller sums it up very well, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

The dictionary states that the word love is a noun but I like to think it is a verb…a word that must be put into action to awaken your heart to come alive and to bless your loved ones with the outpouring of your joy! Love is within all of us to share and to be used like a soothing ointment to heal the wounds and mend the scars of pain and hurt. Love is healing!

The Greeks had four words to describe love:

Eros-romantic love- love of the body

Phileo-enjoyment, fondness, friendship, affection, love of the soul

Agape-unconditional love, a parental love, mature, sacrificial kind of love

Storge-love of community and family, often out of duty or loyalty

There are many types of love, as you see listed above. They are all important and needed throughout our lives. There are so many health benefits to all of these definitions of love. Some of these amazing benefits include:

1. Living a longer and more fulfilling life

2. Lower blood pressure

3. Natural pain control

4. Stress management

5. Boosted immune system- less colds and flus

6. Faster healing

7. Slower aging process

These are just a few of a long list of benefits. Why is love so healing and beneficial in our lives? We all thrive when we feel connected to others and have a sense of belonging. A strong network of friends, family, and neighbors are all important connections. Our mental health is also enhanced when we love and are loved in return.

Another huge benefit of love in our life is the boost of oxytocin that occurs when we are touched or touch someone we care about. Oxytocin is known as the love/cuddle hormone.

It is released into our bloodstream during acts of intimacy, hugging, looking into your loved one’s eyes, holding hands, and also hanging out and having fun with our loved ones. Being with our loved ones signal emotions and feelings of trust, pleasure, and reward.

Oxytocin has been shown to reduce aches and pains in the body, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and energy, and lowers our stress response. Oxytocin also assists us with reducing our fears and anxieties. It is the hormone that is released in large amounts when a mother is giving birth or breastfeeding.

Oxytocin has also been shown to act as a reward and reinforcement system driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine…the same neurotransmitter that is connected to addiction. This oxytocin release can act like an addictive drug in our system, creating a sense of excitement and euphoria.

Oxytocin is a powerful and special hormone that enhances all aspects of our health and well-being. It’s so fascinating that our bodies react in such a profound way to feeling love and receiving love!

Whatever you feel about the word love, know that it affects us all in a systemic nature, meaning that its affect is felt throughout our whole being…physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

My prayer for all of you is to share your love with those you come in contact with daily. Even a warm smile or kind words can make a huge impact in someone’s life…sometimes we never know how much our little acts of kindness and love can change a hardened heart that has walls around it for protection. The love we share can melt the thickest of walls and where the walls are washed away, a rich and beautiful garden is planted.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

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