Today is Day 24 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

I’m always happy to have self-love ambassador Tina Tessina, Ph.D. (aka “Dr. Romance”) as my guest. Tina is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and the author of MANY books, including Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage.. Today she talks about how making your life happier with simple things that definitely say, “I love me!” Here’s what she has to say:

Give Yourself a Gift
By Tina Tessina, Ph.D

Want to give yourself a gift that will last the rest of your life? Try giving yourself the gift of happiness. Research shows that happiness and satisfaction depend more on the inner person than on external circumstances. The secret to living a happy life is to get in charge of your life and what you are doing. Then you can build the life you want. As children, we are strongly influenced by the opinions of others, and what you learn in early childhood can run your life until you understand it and take control of your own ideas and decisions.

What is it that you have always wanted to do? Have you been telling yourself you can’t, or that you don’t deserve it? What would happen if you decided to give yourself what you’ve always wanted? Look at your own life and your decisions from a different and valuable perspective. The decisions you make today affect the rest of your life, and you are ultimately the only person to whom you are accountable and for whom you are responsible. Every new decision is truly a new life’s resolution.

According to recent brain studies, the brain chemical oxytocin is released when there’s positive contact with others (or even with oneself) and serotonin, which has a more physical connection. So, to increase your happiness, serotonin levels can be raised by physical activity (try ballroom dancing, yoga, belly dancing, swinging on a swing), or meditation (in an aromatherapy bath, with scented candles or oils, sitting in a lovely outdoor setting, or with special music) You can also raise oxytocin levels with comforting touch (a massage, a cuddle session with pets, kids, spouse or even just wrapping up in a snug, furry blanket, or rubbing your skin with silk or scented lotion) and loving interaction (a warm exchange with a close friend, family member or child, writing a love letter, working together on a family project, snuggling while watching video or laughing together.)

Remember, there are more kinds of love than romance and marriage. No matter what is happening in your romantic life, the solid presence of good friends and family can lift your spirits, fill your days, and give you the support you need for your romantic relationship.

Not only does it take a “village” (community) to raise a child, but in our mobile and fast paced society, a sense of community, family and connectedness helps us to function more effectively as adults in all phases of life. Current research shows that people who have a healthy family and social life are happier and more long lived. By creating family feelings in several areas of your life, you’ll have the joy of the give and take of friendship, anytime you want.

As you look back on your life, you are likely to feel best about the good things you did for others and the positive contributions you have made to your friends and family. Perhaps life will present you with an opportunity to give back to friends. Being there in times of need, helping out in times of illness or bereavement, or just being a sympathetic listener when a friend is stressed can be more valuable to them than you imagine. You’ll create blessings for yourself when you share your rituals, holidays, laughter and information. Welcome friends who are alone into your family’s good times. Give yourself the gift of laughter, fun and happiness.
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Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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