Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Got Love? : 6 Ways to Add More Love to Your Life

In 1967, the Beatles declared, "All you need is love." That assertion may not be far from the truth.

"When we increase the love and intimacy in our lives, we also increase the health, joy and meaning in our lives," says Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and director of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif.

His book, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy (Collins, $14), is a best-seller. His research has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other medical journals. Dozens of other studies showcase the benefits of loving and being loved.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, what better time to add love to our lives? Here are six suggestions:

1. Add love to your daily routine. No need to wait for Valentine’s Day for getting lovey-dovey. Say sweet things to loved ones daily. Hugs and kisses benefit both giver and receiver. Take home a flower or a card when there's no special occasion.

2. Adopt a pet. Although pets saddle us with additional work and responsibility, benefits outweigh drawbacks. Nursing home residents who spent 30 minutes a week visiting with a dog experienced “significant decrease in loneliness,” according to a 2006 study published in Anthrozoos, by Dr. William Banks, professor of geriatrics.

3. Play with a child. The innocence of a child can melt the loneliest of hearts. If you’re feeling loveless, try entering the world of a child and watch how your perspective changes. Children laugh easily, forgive easily, and are usually delighted to hold your hand.

4. Rekindle friendships. In 2005, my niece persuaded me to try online blogging. I’ve always kept a personal journal, but I wasn’t keen on posting my thoughts in cyberspace. Before long, however, I’d reconnected with dozens of friends and made new acquaintances, as well. Blogging may sound impersonal, but take it from a skeptic: It’s not. We've been there for each other during rocky times, and cheered each other on in good times. I look forward to these daily visits with friends. Just knowing they’re there, puts a smile on my face.

5. Love for the long-haul. If your relationship has outlived that heady feeling of romantic love, cheer up. According to E. Sherwood Brown, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, staying for the long-haul has its advantages. “Long-term effects of being in love, as in stable relationships, appear to show a decrease in the body's stress hormones."

Though not the same feeling as the euphoria of new love, seasoned love brings its own rewards. Jane Jarrell, a Dallas author with 15 years of marriage under her belt, refers to this stage of love as the “comfortable jean stage.” It’s a “relaxed fit.”

Fran Sandin, an RN and author in Greenville, has been married for 44 years. “The tranquil stage of love is my favorite,” she says. “We’ve learned to laugh about things we used to fuss about. Security in our marriage has also freed us to experience great joy in serving others."

6. Do something you enjoy. If you don't have a pastime you're passionate about, get one. Hobbies enrich our spirit immensely and often give us “self-definition,” says author Susan Sheehan. Whether it’s volunteering at a hospital, painting landscapes, or growing tomatoes, people who engage passionately in a pastime live fuller, happier lives.

This article first appeared in The Dallas Morning News, by Dayle Allen Shockley.
All rights reserved.


  1. These are all such good points! Things we need to review from time to time! Thanks for sharing! ♥♥♥

  2. There is something here for all of us.
    #4, Rekindle a friendships...this is my new project. I miss some of my wayside friends. All it takes is a phone call.

    Thank you!

  3. Something for everyone. Every morn, I put a little heart out on the counter with a piece of candy for my hubby's lunch. He eats the candy and leaves the heart there for me! Kit

  4. These are all wonderful. I love the one about loving for the long haul the best. When my niece got married, a friend read a selection called "Being in Love" (I don't remember the author). It said essentially the same thing. I wouldn't trade the long haul love that I have for my husband for the early stage of heart fluttering falling in love for anything. Of course, my heart still flutters when I hear the door opening at the end of a week or just a few days of him being gone. I guess that's a plus of living to a traveling man.

  5. Great tips on l-o-v-e! Thanks for the reminders!

  6. Wonderful reminders for every day!
    Mary Alice


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