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Banace & Thrive Mental Health Counseling & Psychotherapy

February is the month of love. As we move away from the holiday season, let’s take a minute and see how we love and take care of ourselves. Did you know that hugging can reduce blood pressure and heart rate?  Or, what about married people under 50 who statistically are 12% less likely to get a vascular disease?  These are just two statements about how sharing love with others impacts our own health.  But what about how self-love impacts our health?  Self-love is a key pillar in self-esteem and while self-esteem is not characterized as a mental health condition there is a clear connection between how people feel about themselves and their overall mental health.  Research has linked self-esteem to mental health issues (specifically depression and anxiety), quality of life issues, poor relationships, and addiction.  Here are few tips to work on for loving yourself:

Let’s Love Ourselves First

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  Changing those deep-rooted thoughts and feelings can be daunting on your own.  Find a therapist who uses this modality, and you will get on the right track.

Find some Grace:  Be kind to yourself.  Give yourself permission to forgive your mistakes, lapses in judgment, and hurtful behavior.
Meditation: For many, this is the key, first step of physical and emotional confidence.

Stop Comparing yourself to others:  Social Media platforms give us an image of wanting a fantasy that either leaves us disappointed or striving for perfection.  Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real, so if you need a break, take it from the social media platforms.

Exercise:  This is key not just for your physical health but your mental health as well.  Exercise causes your body to release endorphins to release pain which in turn reduces stress and promotes wellbeing.

While the world is telling you that February is for love, find that moment to love yourself.  Use these quick tips to put yourself first, because when we love ourselves, we can love others more deeply.   In the words of Brene Brown, “Talk to yourself like someone you love.”

– Amanda Malanga, MS, LPC, NCC, ACS

References: Casteel, Beth. “Marriage Linked to Lower Heart Risks in Study of 3.5+ Million Adults.” American College of Cardiology, 14 Mar. 2014, Accessed 6 Jan. 2023. Light KC, Grewen KM, Amico JA. More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biol Psychol.

2005 Apr;69(1):5-21. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.11.002. Epub 2004 Dec 29. PMID: 15740822.

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