8 Ways to Let More Love Into Your Life ~

hearts in sand

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By Dr. Kelly Neff

 

Dr. Kelly Neff, The Mind Unleashed | Love is everything, and yet it can be so very easy to lose sight of its importance as we get bogged down with the stressors of daily life. We live in a world seemingly filled with fear, war, politics, and corruption. In these difficult times of conflict and uncertainty, how do we open our hearts and let more love into our lives? Here are my reflections as a psychologist and human being lovingly sharing this journey with you:

1. Focus Less on Things, and More on People

Many of us feel trapped in an artificial physical reality where we shove ourselves into cubicles, fight each other in traffic, and work passionless jobs so we can pay money to surround ourselves with things that we don’t really need. It is a vicious cycle, and one that can make us feel empty and alone, especially when we realize that material possessions will not bring us love.

People were created to be loved, and things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved, and people are being used.”

– Unknown

Acquiring money will not necessarily bring love into our lives, and loving inanimate possessions will not make us truly happy or fulfilled (no matter how pretty and shiny they might be!). What will make us happy? Loving ourselves, loving each another and loving all living things. Psychological research has supported this notion, showing that social support is a bigger predictor of happiness than money. In one study, making a good friend caused an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary. To let more love into your life, show gratitude for the good people in your life. Reach out to them, tell them you love them, and express how thankful you are for their presence in your life.

2. Breathe Mindfully

If you are familiar with my work, you know that one piece of advice I always give to people in any challenging situation is to consciously, mindfully BREATHE. Yes, breathing is an automatic function, but there is a level of self-awareness and grounding that is gained when we become conscious of our breathing. When we breathe mindfully, we can slip into the space between breathes which for me is a place of infinite love and possibilities.

There is no one way to practice mindful breathing: You can use meditation techniques, you can use yoga to connect the breath to the body, you can lie down, sit in lotus, open or close your eyes, and you can even breathe consciously during activities like walking, having sex or cooking a meal. No matter what you do, breathe with conscious intention of inhaling love into your space.

The best way for me to ground myself into a space where I can receive love is to lay down or sit in lotus pose, practice deep breathing (4-6 counts in through the nose and out through the mouth) and repeat the following mantra to myself:

I hold in my heart unconditional love for myself, for my human brothers and sisters, and for all living things.

3. Get Connected to Your Heart Chakra

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The chakras are energy centers that run throughout the body, acting as pumps or values that regulate the flow of our energy system (watch this excellent video from Spirit Science for more on the chakras). Each one governs a different set of organs, and is associated with a color, frequency, sound, set of emotions, and symbols. The Heart chakra, Anahata, sits in the middle of the chest directly above the sternum. It is the center for unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, intimacy and devotion. It is associated with the color green (also pink) the mantra or frequency of “YAM,” and the heart, lungs, and circulatory system.

When your heart chakra is balanced, you will be able to openly express self-love, love for others, empathy and forgiveness. When your heart chakra is blocked or out of balance, expressing love can be challenging. If it is under-active, you may feel withdrawn or have a fear of intimacy. If it is overactive, you may feel jealous and co-dependent.

You can use any number of meditative visualizations to open your heart chakra. For example, hold your hands over your heart chakra or just visualize it in your minds-eye, spinning clockwise as it takes in positive energy and releases negative energy. Visualize a green or pink light building in your heart chakra and radiating outwards, spreading love throughout your body and to all living beings.

You can also surround yourself with essential oils, herbs, or crystals that may help you to open the heart chakra. In terms of oils, try diffusing rose, sandalwood or cedar in your home or dabbing it on your wrists. Herbs that have been known to resonate with the heart chakra include Hawthorne berry tinctures, cayenne, jasmine, lavender, basil, sage, cilantro and parsley. To ingest these you can cook with them, make tinctures, or brew teas. For crystals, stones with green or pink color work best since they match the color vibration of the heart chakra, including Rose Quartz, Emerald, Malachite, Rhondonite, Adventurine and Green Kyanite. Watermelon Tourmaline, which contains gradients of both green and pink, is my personal favorite for promoting heart chakra opening, love and inner peace. You can hold the stones in your hands, place them over your heart, sleep with them under your bed or arrange them in grids throughout your home.

There is no right or wrong way to open the heart chakra, because this can be a deeply personal and individual experience. Above all, do whatever resonates with you.

4. Practice Deep Listening

Deep listening is one of the easiest ways you can cultivate love in your life. When we listen deeply and devote undivided attention to another person, we are effectively holding the space for them and showing them in the most simple and yet profound way that we love them. We are giving them a gift of a non-judgmental, empathic ear, of someone who is actually listening instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. Allowing the people around you to speak and listening with an open heart will make you wise, and will increase your empathy.

The world-renowned Buddhist monk, scholar and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the practice of deep listening in his wonderful book, True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart. This is one of my favorite EVER books and something that I would love for everyone on the planet to read.

So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person…. As we listen, we do not say anything; we breathe deeply and we open our hearts in order to really listen to one another. One hour of this kind of listening is very effective, and it is something very precious that can be offered to the person you love.”

            –Thich Nhat Hanh

5. Be Altruistic

In this “what have you done for me lately?” type of world, doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return is becoming more and more rare. Indeed, as our society becomes more individualistic (and some would argue, narcissistic) altruism and empathy are on the decline, especially among young people. I find it sad that altruism is declining, because when we we do something kind for someone without expecting any credit or anything in return, we are truly participating in one of the highest forms of love (especially on a karmic level!).

I was raised Jewish (although I now identify more as some kind of semi-Buddhist Pantheist, if that’s such a thing) and my parents always taught me that to do something for another living being out of pure human kindness, when you have nothing personal to gain from the situation, is called a Mitzvah. I was always taught that it is a great blessing to be able to perform a Mitzvah for someone – not because it serves you, but because you are literally giving a gift of unconditional love.

This concept is not unique to Judaism- I am pretty sure that all of the world’s major religions emphasize selfless acts of kindness as an important part of their philosophy. Indeed, psychology research even shows that acting altruistically, doing kind things for people without expecting anything in return, really does make you feel happier and more fulfilled.  Each of us probably has hundreds, maybe thousands, of opportunities every week to do something altruistic for someone else. So next time you have the chance, go for it! Consider it a blessing from the universe that will open up your heart to love.

6. Spend Time With Furry Friends

There is just something about spending time with animals that can melt even the iciest of hearts. Perhaps it is their innocence, their purity or their spontaneity that makes their love so wholesome and genuine. Maybe it is because they are so cute, energetic and fun. Perhaps it is because they fulfill the basic human needs for touch and cuddling. Either way, there is a plethora of psychological research showing that spending time with animals can make you happy, loved and even provide a host of physiological and psychological benefits including reduced likelihood of depression, lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and higher levels of dopamine and serotonin.

This point is very important to me. We currently have our 13 year-old dog and three adopted shelter kitties, and I might sound like a crazy cat lady, but these animals have brought me more love than I ever could have imagined! Sure I have to clean up their smelly messes and buy them food, but they give me so much love, companionship and joy. No matter how bad my day is, or how down I am feeling, snuggling with their cute little faces always makes me feel better by opening my heart and grounding me. If you are thinking of getting a pet, please, consider adopting a shelter animal!

If you do not have the time, resources or stability for pets, you can still find some time to spend with animals. Volunteer to help animals, walk dogs, go watch the dogs play at the park, or hang out with a friend or neighbor’s pet for a little while. Even if you are just spending a little time with one, animals can still make you feel the sweetest internal glow and bring more love into your life!

7. Live From the Heart

At the risk of sounding cliché, I do genuinely believe that being true to yourself and following your heart will bring more love into your life. This can mean making the tough decisions to follow your passions in your career or your love life, even when it might be easier to take a more conventional approach. When you are living and making decisions from your heart, you are sending a clear message of intention to the universe that you want to live a happy and authentic life.

As Nicola Tesla famously said, “If you want to understand the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Because the universe responds to vibrations, it will energetically match whatever frequency we are holding inside of ourselves. So if you are feeling unfilled, disconnected and uninspired, the universe will continue to manifest situations where you will feel more of this, because your thoughts and feelings create your reality. If you are feeling passionate, inspired and loving yourself, then you will manifest more of this feeling.

So, quite simply, do what makes you feel good. Be your authentic self and love it, no excuses and no apologies. Cultivate the frequency of love and acceptance in all that you do, and share this love openly with the people around you. As you step further into feelings of self-love, the universe will respond in kind.

8. Feel the Infinite Abundance of Love Around You

Our society has conditioned us to think of our resources as limited, whether we are talking about money, oil, food, or water. But this mentality of scarcity should NOT apply to love. No, love is like oxygen on this planet: There is an infinite amount of it, enough for everyone to have as much of it as they need to thrive.

Still, it can be challenging to re-imagine love as an abundant and unlimited resource. Many of us have what Eckhart Tolle calls “pain bodies” from growing up and feeling like love was a limited resource – maybe we had to compete with our siblings for love, or with our parent’s jobs, or maybe we never had reliable models for how to love an so we have just always viewed love as a scarce and limited commodity.

As mentioned earlier, the universe responds to our frequencies. So if you feel that love is a scarce commodity, you will continue to manifest that vibration and love will not come easily. You are clutching it too tightly instead of letting it flow freely. If you feel love is abundant and you give and receive it openly, then this is the vibration you will continue to manifest. The following mantra, or your personal version of it, can help. Let’s just call it the universal love relaxer:

I feel the infinite love of the universe all around me. I continue to manifest abundance in all things, especially in love.

Most of all, just remember that the endless amount of love in this universe is already inside of you. We are all made of love, and I believe we will return to a place of unconditional love when our incarnation in this physical body is over. If you ever need a reminder or inspiration, look no further than this beautiful quote:

The are four questions of value in life… What is sacred? Of what is spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only Love.” – Johnny Depp

May Light and Love Continue To Be With You Always.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Kelly Neff is a social psychologist, author and educator who has helped thousands of people learn about healthy relationships, love and sexuality. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown and M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. A professor of psychology since 2007, she has become an innovator in the field of online teaching with her book, Teaching Psychology Online and her YouTube lectures. Her articles on love, sex, spirituality and wellbeing have been featured by wellness websites like MindBodyGreen, The Mind Unleashed and more. Dr. Neff also gives workshops, lectures and integrative healing services that combine psychological techniques, empowerment training, Reiki, and other alternative therapies. When she isn’t writing, teaching or doing healing work from her home in Boulder, CO, Dr. Neff travels the globe researching transformational festivals for her upcoming book for the Festival Research Project. You can find her daily doses of inspiration and positivity on Facebook and Twitter. Light and Love!

Featured image: OneTheMagazine.

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