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Words of love

Love sounds like a subject far too trite for this blog, but lately my encounters with the elusive eros are worth noting. I am fascinated with how feelings of love correlate with my physical and emotional vitality. Love is always a driving force in health, and understanding how it affects the body can take us so much farther toward wellness. Here are three types of love categorized by how they affect us:

Energizing love: Love can be a yearning for complete immersion in something or someone. This yearning process is satisfying while you progress toward immersion. A relationship, hobby, or career can propel us into this quest, motivating and energizing our bodies and minds. It is easy to become addicted to this type of love when we can feel its charge and exciting grip. However, sometimes an addiction to this type of love can deplete our energy and move us farther away from its benefits. We may overwork, obsess on a person, or lose our identity when we become addicted to this type of love.

Nourishing love: Love can be sustenance when it’s given without expectations. Reciprocation of this nourishing love can be intensely satisfying between friends and partners. Soul mates seem to enjoy an endless supply of nourishing love to fuel their relationship. We also express nourishing love when we care for our environment. Even pets help us experience nourishing love when we exchange affection. Spirituality can help us love ourselves in a nourishing manner or feel loved by a higher power. An over-consumption of self-love can lead to narcissism and prevent us from enjoying diverse sources of nourishing love outside of ourselves.

Protective love: This type of love can offer necessary and healthy protection from danger. It may drive us to enforce boundaries for the safety of our children, endure an alcoholic or drug intervention for a loved one, or change our diet and lifestyle to treat a disease. Protective love can easily spiral us into darkness when we let our fears control us. Fear of not having enough of the things we love – money, power, possessions, happiness, time, etc. – can lead us into hoarding, manipulating, cheating, binging, and other unethical or unhealthy behaviors that complicate our lives and create disharmony. Protective love can wreak havoc on the body, relationships, and communities when left unchecked.

With these types of love in mind, answer these questions to help determine how love is affecting your health:

  • How you do you experience each type of love in your life?
  • How does your body respond to each type physically and emotionally?
  • How do you keep your energizing love from becoming addictive?
  • How can you increase the amount of nourishing love in your life?
  • Where has your protective love turned into fear?

Each day brings a new opportunity to improve our “love life.” Meditation is a popular way for people to increase feelings of love and compassion. A recent study actually showed that psychospiritual interventions boosted compassionate love among health professionals. Whether you walk, talk, or pray, find out what works for you and live for love.

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