Category Archives for Let’s Get Physical

12 Ways to Love Your Body (in 5 Minutes or Less)

Do you care for your body in the same way that you care for your home, your children or your bank account?

The things that you invest your time and energy in are the things you value most. Oftentimes we don't pay attention to the body until something breaks down. That's not you, right?

Listen… it's not unusual, or uncommon, to have mixed feelings about your body. In an era where beauty is air brushed into non-existent flawless perfection, it can be challenging to look in the mirror and love what you see.

There are so many mixed messages about your body too. This is good. That is bad. Do it like this, but not like that. Beauty magazines are full of expert articles on any topic imaginable concerning your body. It's not surprising that you start to doubt your inner inklings and what's true.

On the flip side, there are many well meaning voices telling you how to win the beauty battle. Loving yourself gets plenty of lip service. But you won't get it that way. Loving yourself is not so much about what you say, it's about who you are and what you do. There's no doubt that making the leap is a stretch (especially if you've grown up in a dysfunctional environment). The key is to make it an easy practice.

No matter what shape you're in, your body is worthy of your care. If you find yourself slipping into a state of self criticism remember all the things your body allows you to do.

Your hands help you find your way in a dark room and gift you the treasure of touch to hold a loved one close.

You can see the beauty of the world around you and the hope in a child's eyes.

You can smell the alluring scent of a rose or inhale the exquisite aroma of a home cooked meal.

You can hear the hoot of an owl and music that moves your being into unbridled joy.

You can taste an infinite number of foods and enjoy the variety of flavors popping on your palate.

Your body is a vehicle for creative expression: you can sing, dance, paint, write and so much more.

The best way I've found to saturate your cells with the sensation of love is to treat yourself well on a regular basis. It is such a treat to have your body! Loving it right back is the best form of appreciation. And it doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming.

In honor of the self love leap, and the infinite ways in which love can be experienced, today let's make love a verb. Let's take small, easy actions throughout the day to plump up your self love:

12 Ways to Love Your Body
(in 5 minutes or less)

Hang like a rag doll.

Walk barefoot on the grass.

Drink a glass of water.

Take a dance break.

Eat a piece of fruit.

Rest in Corpse Pose.

Sing out loud.

Soak under a hot, then cool shower.

Rub your feet with essential oils.

Stand in Mountain Pose.

Give/Get a hug.

Breathe: Deeply. Deliciously.

Of course there are more than 12 ways to love your body. These are just some ideas to prime the pump and get you into connection with your own body wisdom. You have infinite resources within you that will guide you to the perfect ways for YOU to love your body. All you need to do is listen. Then take action on the insights that come your way. This ensures that your body continues its deep dialogue with you.

Once you invest in loving your body, you re-set your default to a loving approach to your body and your life. Start loving your body and the rest of your world falls right in line.

How do you love your body every day? I'd love to hear how loving your body shows up in your world!

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PS Ready to dive into the sweetness of self love?

Image: Crisalida, Jeronimo Sanz

How to Tap Into The Power of Touch

A pair of lovers hold hands, a mother cradles her baby, two friends greet with a hug, these are everyday gestures that we usually take for granted. We touch those we care for, more or less depending on our culture, but touch is fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. It is our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion. 

We are born with the need to touch and be touched. If we are not cuddled as babies or children, we do not develop as well. Touch is the first sense we acquire and the last to go.  It is the only one of our five senses which doesn't diminish with age. And in the absence of touching and being touched, we grow touch starved and sicken.

Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language, and the last, and it always tells the truth.
~ Margaret Atwood

Touch signals safety and trust, it soothes and comforts. Touch stimulates the release of endorphins (the body's natural pain killers). It feels good to touch and be touched. It is our primary language for communication. And we're wired for it: There are approximately 5 million touch receptors in our skin, 3,000 in each fingertip. 

In exploring the power of touch I discovered SO many studies, here are some of the wondrous findings:

  • Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress.
  • A simple touch triggers release of oxytocin, the love hormone.
  • We have an innate ability to decode emotions through touch alone. 
  • Touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy. 
  • Touch increases the speed of communication.
  • When teachers pat students in a friendly way, those students are three times as likely to speak up in class.
  • Eye contact and a pat on the back from a doctor may boost survival rates of patients with complex diseases.
  • Sitting in close contact with a partner for 10 minutes lowered blood pressure in women. Physical contact can trigger a boost in serotonin, a natural antidepressant.
  • Touching patients with Alzheimer’s disease can have huge effects on getting them to relax, make emotional connections with others, and reduce their symptoms of depression.

No other form of communication is as universally understood as touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of loneliness. You cannot touch without being touched. 

6 Ways to Add More Touch

Research indicates that a regular dose of some type of touch lasting at least a few minutes each day is essential for your well being; 10 to 15 minutes is optimal. Here's how to regain fluency in your first language:

1. Hold Hands. In your relationship you probably did this a lot in the beginning. Spark it up again! Hold hands with your friends, children and grandchildren.

2. Get or Give a Massage. If you can't schedule a weekly message you can certainly partner up with a loved one or friend and gift this to one another. Massage the areas that carry tension, such as the neck, shoulders, and lower back. You can also do self message, but partner massage is yummier. 

3. Engage in Hands On Movement.Whether it's ballroom dance, pilates or yoga, engage in a workout that involves human touch. There's plenty of touch in available in these three, as your instructor adjusts your posture and form. It also helps you ‘get it' more quickly than just verbal tips.

5. Hug Someone. Yes, this is the easiest. Whether it's part of your culture or not this is a delightful acquired habit. It's the quickest way to share your love, affection and joy.

6. Visit a Salon. Get your hair washed and blow dryed. Throw in a manicure and pedicure.

We’re wired, and we need, to connect with other people physically. To deny that is to deprive ourselves of some of life’s greatest joys and deepest comforts. Don't hold out now. Join the party!

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PS Ready to dive into the deliciousness of self care?