Valentine's Day is this week.
Most of you just groaned out loud reading that sentence -- and not in a sexy, pleasure induced kind of way, either -- which is unfortunate. There are two responses I usually hear at the mere mention of this annual observance of adulation; the first being excitement followed by an all-out divulgence of lusty details OR absolute repugnance. What has changed for me this year though, is that the latter seems to be happening more often than not...or at least people are just being more vocal about it.
This time of year can make people stand firm in their anti-Valentine's Day tidings. I get it. Most of those anti messages are about being against commercialism, damning the capitalist man and incredibly organized people for putting up red hearts in the Dollarama days after New Years and complaining that the cost of flowers doubles in price for one week only. Look. I get it. That stuff is annoying to me too.
Here's my concern about some of the complaints I've heard though. The rally against demonstrating affection in and around Valentine's Day has become such a boring argument at this point. Why are we wasting our energy fighting against the expression of love? Do you actually have a problem with other people's PDA or is there something else going on here? Sure, the commerciality of Valentine's Day can be completely ridiculous and, sure, every ostentation makes it seem like only people in relationships can be happy at this impossible time of year, but that doesn't mean because you're not in a relationship that you can't celebrate love; which is the point, isn't it?
Let's try and use Valentine's Day as an opportunity this year. Think of it as an opportunity to find love in other areas of your life. Take a second to #reframelove and stop being lazy and bitter about Valentine's Day. If you celebrate something as simple as your birthday and wash in the selfish narcissism of that day, then you can't very well hate on a day that's devoted to celebrating love for others. What we don't need more of in this world is criticism around expressing happiness. Start finding love for yourself and the love around you. Stop making love toxic. Stop making my newsfeed annoying by hating on happiness. Pull yourself together.
If your situation this year is non-conducive to a couples' romantic night, then why not spend the time adorning others or even yourself with love? Expressing that love can look differently for many people; someone might choose to be with their family members (especially super cute nieces and nephews), having a night out with your closest friends, going to an extra intense yoga class, playing video games and ordering pizza, volunteering for the afternoon at a local not for profit. The point is that it doesn't matter how you're expressing your love, it's that you do it at all.
But, if you need other reasons as to why taking a second to #reframelove in your own world is just simply a positive way to enhance your life, then take a look at my three reasons why love is actually good for you and your body.
1. Heart health
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? If you have a lover, lovers, or the eventual option to enter into a coital contract, sex is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Sex statistically aids in decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and lowering your systolic blood pressure. It might not be as efficient as the regular spin classes for most of us, but it is still exercise. Whether you're having a fierce solo session, playing hide the pinky with your regular lover or getting loose with Mr. RightNow at 3 a.m., the most obvious expression of enthusiastic adoration for any involved party is via a vigorous romp session. Now I realize this is the more physical way to express love, but the increase in blood flow is also good for naturally plumping your lips, making your nipples supple and helping your eyes get their sparkle on by enlarging your pupils. It's like a complete body makeover without even leaving your bedroom! #sexmagic *wink, wink*
2. Immunity boost & stress relief
Expressing love for another actually has beneficial properties towards lowering your stress levels. When we express love we also "up the ante" and increase our happiness thus lowering the amount of cortisol in our bodies. When our stress levels are down the body has been known to get an immunity boost via Immunoglobulin A, become less likely to get sick after cold or flu exposure AND possibly start to heal itself faster or have relief from mild and chronic pain. As an added bonus, lower stress levels also translates into clearer and brighter skin, (they lied when they said acne would go away after adolescence), mix that with your daily skin regiment of jojoba oil and you're prepped to get a pre-Spring glow on.
3. Mental health & clarity
When we experience love, our brains are triggered to produce more oxytocin. Which, when paired with other pleasure inducing hormones such as dopamine, is a powerful combination to help us combat whatever depressive or anxious feelings we may be trying to kick to the curb. Laughing more, finding peace through daily meditations, making an effort to smile more or being surrounded by people who you are helping are all ways we can improve our mental health. Mental clarity is something most of us have to work at everyday and when a useful strategy is as accessible as love is, then why wouldn't that be part of your love day game plan?
This is your second chance. Stop blaming the world and start being accountable -- find love again, within yourself, for yourself.
Love your family.
Love your children.
Love your colleagues and peers.
Love by giving to a charity.
Love a stranger.
Rumour has it that Casanova enjoyed a breakfast of 50 oysters, and we know he had luck with the ladies. More scientifically, research has shown that the mollusk is a source of amino acids linked to higher levels of sex hormones. Get the recipe: Savoury And Decadent Broiled Oysters
It may not make you feel like kissing someone, but Romans consecrated garlic to Ceres, their goddess of fertility, because they felt it had aphrodisiac properties. Just pop a mint before the goodnight kiss. Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Brown Sugar And Garlic Chicken
Past research found that the scent of vanilla can help us relax and sharpen our minds — and relaxation and focus are both good qualities during quality romantic time. Get the recipe: Eggless Vanilla Ice Cream
Montezuma drank a chocolate elixir before visiting his harem, so the Aztec ruler clearly believed in its aphrodisiac qualities. Perhaps he realized that chocolate stimulates the release of “feel good” hormone serotonin. And we’re not afraid to admit that this grilled cheese sandwich with dark chocolate, cherries, and brie gives us romantic feelings. Get the recipe: Balsamic Roasted Cherry Dark Chocolate
Kale and spinach don’t make many of us think sexy thoughts, but we might want to reconsider that. Turns out leafy greens are related to increased histamine production, which is tied to our ability to reach orgasm. And arugula specifically is tied to a less-popular Roman god of fertility. Get the recipe: Arugula Walnut Pesto
Iodine deficiency is linked to reduced sex drive, which gives you a good reason to order the shrimp cocktail at your Valentine’s dinner — shrimp is a good source of the mineral. Get the recipe: Killer Shrimp Soup
Aside from its obvious visual reference, asparagus is a source of vitamin E, which has been tied to sexual performance and stamina, thanks to hormone stimulation. Get the recipe: Japanese Style Asparagus Frites
Chilis and other hot peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that can help get your blood pumping and your nerves on alert — not a bad way to get things started for the evening. Learn how to make your own pepper flakes.
A glass of red wine contains an antioxidant called resvertrol, which is linked to increased production of estrogen in women. And of course, a great glass of wine can be a sensual experience in and of itself. Get the recipe: Red Wine And Garlic Braised Beef Shanks
The Aztecs referred to the avocado tree as “Ahuacuati” which means “testicle tree.” ‘Nuff said. Pair with Austrian Grüner Veltliner
Sweet basil has been used to stimulate sex drive for centuries. Women used to stop their men from straying into the arms of another by powdering their bosom with dried basil -- apparently it drove the guys wild. Pair with Ontario Unoaked Chardonnay Photo credit: Rob Cardillo
For those with one-track minds, the insides of figs are said to resemble female sex organs, and a man breaking one open and eating it in front of his female lover is considered a strongly erotic act. Pair with Italian Vin Santo
In ancient Egypt, honey-based medicines were used to cure sterility & impotence. In modern day porn, it’s a useful edible prop. Pair with Alsatian Off-dry Pinot Gris Photo credit:Waugsberg
A libido stimulant since Medieval times, pine nuts have been a key ingredient in love potions through out the ages. Pair with French Chardonnay (Burgundy) Photo credit: Paul Goyette
Again, this is an Italian discovery. The heady scent of the rare truffle is rumoured to heighten skin’s sensitivity to touch. Pair with Italian Barolo
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