“What to do” and “Why it works”
We’ve arrived at Valentine’s Day, and whether you’re among the many people that celebrate love this month, or avoid it, we’re here to share 6 simple ways to give your skin a glow of love—and create a happy, relaxed state any day.
Love may be a single emotion, but many things prompt us to feel it, and it has many positive effects on our minds, bodies, and of course our skin. We can thank the happy hormones that surge inside us for those positive results. And the best news is that we can create that surge with or without a romantic partner!
Since we know you may be feeling… a lot… this weekend, let’s start with the “what to do” and then follow up with “why it works.” Here are our top 6 rituals that can transform low-level days to glowing ones that light up your skin and remind you of life’s joys:
- Fill yourself with a scent that transports you. Aromas can whisk you away to a new place in a flash, with no conscious mind required. And different scents—since they’re associated with our memories, and also trigger different physical responses—can be tailored to the emotion you want to nurture. Fresh scents like citrus or pine are invigorating; lavender, vanilla, rosemary, and cinnamon are calming for many people. Even breathing in the smell of a favorite tea may bring joy. Test a variety of scents to find out what emotions they inspire in you.
- Take longer to breathe out than in. Our breath has a major bearing on our physical state, and one practice that has been found to increase feelings of relaxation and happiness is breathing in through the nose to a count of 4 or 5, and out through the nose to a count of 6 or 7. Practicing for several minutes will help relax you, as well as create a boost to blood flow—and give your skin a glow of love!
- Release pent up stress or negative emotions. Negative and positive emotions can’t be held in the body at the same time for long. Blast away any negative emotions and prompt a boost in happy hormones through movement: dance, workout, or just sing along to your favorite music; walk or run; participate in a favorite sport; play with your dog; or counter your anger with something vigorous like kickboxing. (These may be performed in a limited way from a chair or bed if mobility is a challenge.)
- Disengage your brain from auto-replay. We often get caught in thought loops that increase our stress hormones; unplug by filling your mind with a different topic. You might watch a movie, listen to an audio book or podcast, read a book or magazine, or (within limits) dive into a work project. Guided meditations can also be very helpful in raising your awareness of unhelpful thought loops.
- Take a yoga class (online, with an app, or in person). Yoga, with its rhythmic moves, emphasis on breath work, and concentration needed to hold balance and strength postures, is a very effective way to put #3 and #4 together. [You might want to link to this site for free online classes https://www.doyogawithme.com; https://apex.honoryoga.com/]
- Treat yourself like the special person you are. What helps you feel like royalty? It may be a facial, manicure or pedicure, or having a massage. If you like the small indulgence of having a professional provides the care, by all means choose that. But you can get a similar response through self-massage or treatments too. [Checkout this site for simple self-massage tools https://www.wisdombodyandsoul.com/store/p133/Gua_Sha_Massage_Tool.html; https://www.wisdombodyandsoul.com/store/p276/Gemstone_Facial_Massage_Tool.html]
While none of these are intended to replace the joy of being in love with a romantic partner or feeling the love of others in our circle, incorporating a few of these simple steps into daily rituals CAN change the profile of your day, increase your overall well-being, and most certainly give your skin the glow of love!
So why does self-care work?
The love response: more in your control than you may think
Yes, we tend to be most aware of love when someone in our circle does or says something that makes us feel particularly good. And while we often think that this happy swell we call love is due to the other person, it’s really created by our response to them—our connection to them.
Our way of looking at and evaluating the world is what’s actually prompting both the feeling and the hormone rush. Which means that WE have influence over our feelings of love. That’s why rituals of self-care and self-love prompt a surge in our happy hormones that carry the health benefits.
Take the reins to give your skin the glow of love
Relationship and personal development experts have long known and taught that self-love is the essential first step to being able to love anyone else. Since even the most heavenly romance will not always rank a 10 on the happiness scale, it’s important to make a practice of taking charge of your own joy. Take the reins of your thoughts, remove yourself from negative situations—and do so regularly to give your skin a glow of love, and enjoy the delight of a regular flow of happy emotions.