By Tammy Ruggles
Winter weather and the lack of sunshine can sometimes cause blue moods or a feeling of isolation from being “trapped” indoors, so this is the perfect time to bring yourself out of your doldrums by thinking positive thoughts and reconnecting with others by bonding with love. They say love makes the world go round, but negative news and views can make it seem like love is a scarce commodity.
It isn’t. But it’s up to us to make a conscious effort to put more love back into our lives and relationships.
Love can be difficult to define, but we know it when we see it and feel it. Generally, it’s the emotion and actions of the positive regard you have for others and their well-being. Feelings of love are even evident in our brain chemistry. Naturally-occurring chemicals and hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins all work together to help us feel love and comfort from our families, friends, and significant others.
We all know there are different kinds of love: Self-love, love for our partners, friends, and family; and they are all important to our emotional if not physical survival.
Without love, we, and the people in our lives, would miss out on the full experience of life. Studies have shown that people with spouses or partners live longer and seem to be happier.
There are some activities we can do with our loved ones to strengthen the bond, and here are just a few:
- Self-love. This is, ironically, the most important kind of love, because if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others. Some activities you can do to love yourself include participating in a cherished hobby, taking care of your physical needs by eating right and exercising, getting proper rest, being with those you care about, and those who care about you.
- Family love. Families share a special connection, either by blood or by choice, but strong relationships don’t happen by themselves. It can take a little initiative. Some things families can do to strengthen their bond include going on picnics, having family discussions, going to see a movie together, or doing a family project like a family photo scrapbook or family tree album.
- Partner love. The popularity of Valentine’s Day should be an indication of the importance of romantic love. This could be anything from a casual dating relationship, to an engagement, to marriage. Spending time and expressing love to a significant other can keep you happy and healthy for a long time to come. Some things you can do to strengthen the bond with your partner include taking a long drive or walk together, giving each other a relaxing massage, spending a weekend in a nice hotel, or just talking and re-connecting. Although millions of dollars are spent on Valentine’s Day for our partners and cherished ones, it doesn’t cost a cent to say “I love you.”
- Friend love. Platonic friendships are very different from family and partner relationships. They can be just as intense and fulfilling, and therefore need just as much attention. Sometimes it’s easier to confide in a friend than it is a spouse, partner, or other family member. Some things you can do to strengthen the bond with your friends include cooking a meal together or going to a favorite restaurant, giving them a book by an author they enjoy, going to a concert or play together, or just talking at the kitchen table.
In this hustle and bustle world, time is a precious commodity, so it can really touch someone when you take time out of your busy schedule to bond with a friend, family member, or significant other.