Be your friend on Valentine´s Day
"Love Is the Strongest Medicine." Dr. Steven Eisenberg
Another fantastic day of celebration arrives on the calendar, love & friendship day.
As described in the article above, Valentine's Day in Finland is called 'Friend's Day,' which is in Finnish called Ystävänpäivä. Most foreigners find it surprising and sweet with a unique interpretation of romantic love and precious friendship. Therefore, family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends are included in the celebration.
Indeed it is lovely to enjoy Valentine's day by having flowers, chocolate, some excellent meals, gathering with friends and families, etc. However, it is also pleasing to look at this day differently in a more profound way, to find more joy, and serenity.
L.O.V.E is the strongest medicine.
As the article starts with this great quote from Dr. Steven Eisenberg, it would be appropriate to explain more about its meaning, which is the title of Dr. Eisenberg's book as well.
Dr. Eisenberg explains in his new book: "I'm talking about breaking down love into four letters:
Listen, Observe, Verbalise, Empathise.’’
He adds: Listen with your eyes, make eye contact, Love that person.
Therefore the focus of this article is to describe three meaningful ways of celebrating Valentine's day by taking care of our hearts' health as well.
Gratitude & positive affirmations
Since Valentine Day is called friendship day too, it would be marvelous to approach this day as an occassion to be grateful, love, and take care of ourselves and our dears. As mentioned earlier in this article, The power of gratitude, many studies have also shown us that the practice of shifting our attention to gratitude in daily life can improve our overall well-being and especially heart health, and increase happiness.
Remembering the good things we are thankful for is a highly effective strategy for stress relief and beneficial for heart health. It helps us focus on positive thoughts/feelings throughout the day. Some people find it very useful to write down the things they are thankful for, which is called: Gratitude journaling. Also, speaking kindly to ourselves and saying positive statements can help us see the amazing things about ourselves. As Satish Kumar (peace and environmental advocate) says: "We must be kind to ourselves, not violent to ourselves, love begins at home, and this is not selfish. When we love ourselves, then we can love humans and extend our love to others, animals, and nature. Self-love is the first step."
Compassion and connection
As mentioned by Dalai Lama: "I think technology really increases human ability. It makes a lot of things much easier. But technology cannot produce compassion."
When we open our hearts, we feel more connected to other people. We receive more love and kindness when we have a friendly approach and offer love and friendship. Therefore, having more positive contact and connection with people and the community is essential for our happiness and well-being.
Heart shaped health
For sure, enjoying heart-shaped chocolate or a piece of cake for Valentine's day together with friends and family can be pleasant. However, we know that is not the key to supporting a healthy, loving heart in the long term. Indeed, we all know eating various colorful plants, veggies and fruits are good for our heart. Still, studies show adding certain types of vegetables called Cruciferous Vegetables to our diet is vital for better heart health. Cross bearing vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are available and easy to find in food stores throughout the year.
Another important factor is regular exercise which can improve our overall well-being, including heart health. Nowadays, people often have a sedentary lifestyle, sitting all day and working behind the screen. We need to remind ourselves that our heart needs blood pumping and regular joyful exercise on most days of the week helps, which does not always have to be intense.
Let's finish this article with a beautiful poem and a wonderful recipe to enjoy on Valentine's Day with friends and family: easy chocolate-oat-date balls.
Through love, all that is bitter will be sweet, Through love, all that is copper will be gold, Through love, all dregs will become wine, through love, all pain will turn to medicine. -Rumi