Sunday, 14 February 2016

Love is all around us...

Crafted with love for all those important occasions 
It's the time of the year when red roses and soft toys sadly clutching hearts pop up everywhere. But for many, upcoming events like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are little more than card shop celebrations - designed to give us a reason to part with cash in a conspicuous display of affection. We might feel we're co-erced into buying cards, presents and extravagant food and drink - just to 'keep up' with everyone else and so that we don't look like we don't care. Some of us might even feel we'd rather opt out of recognised calendar dates and hope for smaller but more authentic signs we're loved on a day-to-day basis.

Yet even the most cynical among us would be pretty disappointed if our loved ones forgot to mark certain occasions from anniversaries and birthdays to the manufactured days those retailers are keen to encourage us to celebrate. Which is the crux of the problem. Why is feeling that we are loved  - right from birth - so important?


Life is better with love


Well, it seems that love is essential for good health. Rather sadly, studies show that children deprived of love are at increased risk of both physical and emotional difficulties - such as depression and headaches - throughout their life. Conversely, infants that are loved, touched and cuddled usually gain more weight, cry less and smile more. Other research suggests having the support of friends and family also helps when recovering from serious illnesses such as cancer - and that those in long-term relationships live longer than their single counterparts.

When it comes to romantic love, the 'butterflies' in your tummy turn out to be beneficial to your health too by increasing your heart rate and your blood flow (you know, to ALL parts of the body). Love triggers the release of endorphins into your body - which lowers stress chemicals, and a good hug will also produce the feel-good chemical oxytocin. But it's not only your Valentine that can give you a health boost. Imagine having a raucous time out with some friends - and you'll see why they say 'laughter is the best medicine'. In fact laughter helps fight stress, pain and stop you from feeling down and experiencing a dip in immunity.

So with this in mind, cut cupid some slack this year - and embrace the emotional high that giving and receiving love can offer. And teach your kids to join in too - as you're allowing them to experience the joy that comes from letting people know they are appreciated. Let them show you, their friends, their grandparents and teachers - and anyone else that loves and cares for them - just why 'Love is all you need'.

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