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Isn’t it so true that the more we make time for ourselves, the happier we feel, and the more willing and ready we are to give (without resentment) to our children and our spouses?  Some of us are running on empty or we feel guilty when we schedule “me” time because we are under so much stress that we may have forgotten how beneficial self-care activities are. When was the last time you scheduled yourself a massage or a day at the spa?

There are certain activities throughout our day that we can practice to raise our levels of “love” hormone to create a spa-like environment INSIDE our bodies by calming our nervous system and elevating our mood. The neuro-hormone of love, calming and feeling good is called Oxytocin. It is the same neuro-hormone associated with pleasure, healing, focus and connection. The more love hormone we have circulating in our bloodstream, the more joy we feel, the more able to bond and connect with our children, romantic partner, family and friends.

Try these 5 exercises throughout your day to feel more loving and grateful for yourself. These practices stimulate the release of endorphins too, which make us feel happy and alleviate pain naturally. Our immune system boosts too when we do the following exercises.

1. Breathe with your diaphragm.

Belly breathing stimulates a more calm and centered state of being. We get to experience receiving when we take in a conscious inhalation. Take the deepest fullest breath, don’t hold back. Notice how it feels to receive fully your breath. Inhale through the nose. Expand your belly, chest and abdomen. Exhale passively through your mouth. Repeat this 10 times. Close your eyes to heighten your self awareness.

2. Breathe in gratitude and unconditional love for yourself.

Visualize the words “Gratitude and Unconditional Love.” Allow those words to enter into your body cells through your nose. Feel the meaning of the words. Feel grateful for who you are. Feel a deep appreciation for the parent that you are, the daughter or son that you are, the friend that you are, and the whole person that you are, exactly as you are. Notice how it feels to appreciate yourself. We literally change our brain chemistry when we feel grateful and loving towards ourselves.

3. Take a Mindful Shower.

When you take a shower or bath, notice the feeling of washing yourself with soap and as you cleanse yourself, adopt an attitude of gratitude. Feel so grateful for your arms that hold and hug your child. Feel grateful for the meals you prepare for your family, the laundry that you fold and wash. Feel grateful for your legs that walk you everywhere you go throughout the whole day. Appreciate all the different organs that are functioning for your highest good 24/7. Pay special attention to the parts that you may have the hardest time loving and forgive yourself for being critical or judgmental of those parts.

4. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself.

Make this a ritual every time you go brush your teeth. Smile and take yourself in, look at your eyes and really see your whole self. When we smile we raise our love hormone levels!

5. Hug yourself.

Before you go to sleep or when you wake up in the morning, wrap your arms around the most important person in your life. Feel the embrace of love that your arms give you. Be there for yourself. Notice how this makes you feel. When we are our own best friend, our own greatest lover, and biggest cheerleader for ourselves, we feel more empowered.

Try these tips throughout your day, and let me know how they help you. Your loved ones will feel you differently when you start practicing these. We affect our children and if we are parenting them from a place of feeling full of love instead of depleted, we are teaching them from our BEINGness how to be. A more calm, centered and loving parent will inspire a more calm, centered and loving child. Our kids learn from our actions and how we feel much more than our words.

Wishing you a day filled with lots of love!