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Love is a Verb: Start With Yourself 


Everyone wants to feel loved, heard, seen and understood. From a young age, every person turns to immediate family for this ongoing daily dose of care. If you were lucky, love flowed steadily and was generously given to you by others. 

As you grew into an adult, even in the best of family upbringings, you likely discovered ways that you needed and longed to be loved yet did not ever receive. Shadows and wounds crept up and in when you realized that, at times, your emotional needs didn’t feel important. Or, maybe you were made to feel invisible now and then. Whatever your wound looks like, likely, a parental figure didn’t give you the love you fully needed to thrive. 

Hurts and disappointments were tucked away, only to be discovered years later as you became an adult. Even if your parents were Mother Theresa and Ghandi, they, too, are imperfect, and likely couldn’t have given you every ounce of love you needed and deserved. 

As an adult, you have the opportunity to create your “love committee”. Love is not only a feeling, love is a verb. It is expression in action. While another human is likely incapable of meeting EVERY single one of your needs, the one person who IS available for that level of active love is your own self. 

How do you speak to yourself when you make a mistake? Are you forgiving and understanding, or do you call yourself “stupid” with frustration? How do you treat yourself in times of failure? Do you speak to yourself like a loving parent would to their young child, or do you criticize yourself and engage in self beat-up? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and see your beauty or criticize your imperfections, wishing for a different reflection in return? Do you give space to nurture your dreams, or do you belittle your heart’s desires?

Self-love is possibly one of the most transformative spiritual practices you can create in your life. It starts with you taking a stand with and for yourself. This daily practice leads you to become your biggest fan, most reliable friend and greatest hero. 

As an exercise, look at yourself in the mirror for just two minutes every day. Tell yourself, out loud, the things you wish you had heard as a child, but didn’t. “I’m here with you. I love you. I see you. Let me care for you. You’ve got this. You are deserving. Your needs matter. You are so, so beautiful.”

Speak to yourself in a way that fills you with care. It may feel awkward at first (anything new feels awkward or scary, so don’t let that be an excuse), but just like falling in love with another person takes time, give yourself time to nurture a love story that will carry you through for the rest of your life. Love is a verb, and giving love to yourself is perhaps the most impactful and sustaining love you’ll ever know.
 

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Get rid of the blues and recharge with a new hobby

By Aimee Lyons, Guest Blogger

Hobbies including everything from cardio classes to crocheting can increase people’s sense of mental well being and boost brain health. Such activities have additional advantages for people in addiction recovery who might be searching for productive ways to spend their time. And, whether your primary goal is socializing or sweating, experts agree hobbies help reduce stress while increasing your sense of satisfaction.


Need help picking a pastime? Consider taking a community college class to experiment with something you’ve always found interesting but never taken the time to try. Or, search the events calendar at your local library to find a sewing circle or sci-fi book club to join. Meanwhile, here are a few suggestions to get your search started.


Explore Art


Art therapy has been used to treat substance use disorders since the 1950s and has several documented benefits including providing people an outlet for communication and reducing resistance to alcohol treatment programs. But art doesn’t have to be created in a structured setting to be therapeutic. Research shows that activities including painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography can lower stress levels and leave people feeling more mentally focused, according to an article published by Be Brain Fit. In fact, amateur artists might find themselves so engrossed in an endeavor that they achieve a state of flow, a meditative-like mindset that temporarily pushes aside everything except what they’re working on at the moment -- a plus for anyone in today’s age of information overload.


Create Connections With Your Food


Growing your own food is a great way to get more in touch with what you put in your body. Gardening is also a fruitful form of outdoor exercise. And, if you don’t have a space of your own to sow seeds, consider community gardens, which are sprouting up all over the country. Investing some sweat equity at one could reap rewards including new friends and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables.


Gardening could also inspire many to move to the next link in the food chain. Once you’ve harvested the results of your hard work, why not whip up something new and interesting with the fresh-picked produce? Doing your own cooking is an excellent recipe for improving your health.

Try Tai Chi and Yoga


Many recovering addicts find yoga and tai chi particularly helpful for bringing their minds and bodies into balance. Sessions are as meditative as they are physical because they encourage practitioners to focus their minds on their movements. Plus, both forms of exercise are easily adaptable depending on an individual’s fitness level and can be practiced almost anywhere with little or no equipment.


Volunteer


An article on the Rewire Me website recommends volunteering as a healthy habit to adopt during recovery. Helping others will boost your sense of empathy -- and empowerment -- by giving you an outlet to make a positive difference in the world. If logistics prevent you from volunteering in person, consider ways you can use the time and resources you have.  For instance, there are virtual volunteer activities that connect people with worthy causes nationwide. You could craft handmade blankets for homeless people in Dallas or review scholarship applications for a nonprofit educational foundation, just to name a few.


No matter what activities you enjoy, hobbies can help decrease stress and improve your mental and physical well-being. So whether you spend your free time painting portraits or striking yoga poses, these pleasant pursuits will help keep you happier, healthier, and focused on the future.  

To sign up for a relaxing art class visit

TheArtStudioNY.com 


 

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Life is hectic. You are stressed and overwhelmed with life's daily demands. You need space and time for yourself to relax, unwind and discover real fulfillment in your life. The Art Studio NY is known as a creative urban oasis where stress melts away and joy blossoms. Are you ready to practice 5 Proven Relaxation Tips That Will Help YOU NOW? 

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