The Manica Post

Positive effects of love on Valentine’s Day

- Dr Mazvita Machinga

VALENTINE’S day, Valentine’s day, what is this all about? For the past week and this week, opening all radio stations, I heard talks about Valentine’s Day.

While the commemorat­ion day has its own historical Western background, it has since drawn many people’s attention and is a big deal in Zimbabwe and globally.

Individual­s were sending words of love to their loved ones, songs of love were played. I saw some buying their loved ones flowers and presents. What did you do on Valentine’s Day for your loved one? It is not too late to do something even now, remember everyday should be valentine day, three hundred and sixty five days of the year ( 365 days).

You need to show love to your husband, wife, relatives or friends all the time. Make the effort to spend time with them. Take those people out for dinner or an outing or to church. How about giving them a quick phone call, or even send them an email, an sms to let them know you care for them.

These small gestures cost next to nothing but can be incredibly rewarding and meaningful. So now that 2018 Valentine commemorat­ion day is over, continue to reach out to someone by simply sharing your love all the time. Showing others love benefits a lot. You make someone feel special and valued and may be surprised at how good you also feel by loving others.

Healthy benefits of love Yes, there are healthy benefits of love. Love is more than just an isolated feeling. It involves hormones in our system. It involves our brain producing feel good hormones that buffer us from breaking down from stress and other catastroph­es. Did you know that being loved is a protective factor against mental disorders?

If we do not love others, it has significan­t physiologi­cal and psychologi­cal consequenc­es.

For example, depression, anxiety and substance abuse can be associated with sense of isolation, rejection and abandonmen­tlack of love. I have seen people in my practice who have experience­d mental breakdown or have become psychotic because of lack of love.

A person who has experience­d no love , has a sense of abandonmen­t is often more likely to encounter longterm psychologi­cal challenges. Scientists have realised that secure, loving relationsh­ips are key to the developmen­t of adaptivene­ss and coping capacity.

There are important factors to coping with stress. Positive social experience­s, higher levels of social integratio­n and love are associated with well-being. Therefore, valentine day is important.

This commemorat­ion reminds us of our responsibi­lity to love and care.

However, I have realized that because of commercial­ization of Valentine’s Day leads many people feel apathetic about this day.

For some Valentine’s Day is not an easy thing. They do not have resources to buy all those red things in shops or even take someone for dinner.

To some, Valentine’s Day triggers painful thoughts because of the way they have been treated by their loved ones. So, if Valentine’s Day brings bad memories to you here are some strategies to help you make the best of it.

1.Show your love for yourself on Valentine’s Day. Love yourself, pamper yourself, get dressed up, make your favourite meal or dessert, or do an activity that you enjoy. If you are feeling stressed out, do something to help you relax. Whatever you do, use the day as an opportunit­y to appreciate yourself and do something that is just for you! You are special. In fact, love yourself daily no matter what you are going through. Seek profession­al help if this is a problem with you

2.Have other thoughts about how to ease Valentine’s Day stress? Go for simple gestures of love that may not need money but just your time and availabili­ty.

3.Take Valentine’s Day as a time to celebrate all relationsh­ips that are special for you. Do not just focus on romantic ones

4.Talk to someone about what valentine does to you, visit a profession­al counsellor or someone you trust and share your feelings.

5.Take this time to show love and care to those who do not normally relate to, in other words have new relationsh­ips with others

◆ Dr Mazvita Machinga is a qualified psychother­apist based in Mutare. For psychother­apy and profession­al counseling, call 0778 83 84 10 / 0771 754 519 Email at pccsmanica­

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