I originally wrote this blog post for Dr. Lauren Collins of Innate Potential Chiropractic. See the original post here.
In a world where we’ve been raised to put others first, self-love can often feel selfish. Setting aside time for self-love causes feelings of guilt, and we struggle to maintain a dedicated self-love practice. It’s frustrating. We know we need self-love, yet we have difficulty giving ourselves permission to experience it. Ironic, isn’t it?
We were never taught self-love in school, and most of us didn’t learn about self-love in our homes. So what did we learn? We learned to put others first. We learned the importance of success. We learned to work hard and make money. But we didn’t learn how to keep ourselves feeling fueled for that journey.
Self-love is our fuel; it’s the foundation for who we are. Everything builds on top of this foundation, and if it isn’t solid, life feels shaky. The moment we start loving ourselves, we experience shifts — positive shifts. Life begins to move forward with more ease and things begin to magically fall into place. Relationships improve. Health improves. And life begins to feel good — really good — ridiculously good.
Recognize + Prioritize Your Needs
In order to create that loving relationship with yourself, you’ll have to recognize your needs. Self-love is all about identifying your needs and making them a priority in your life. It’s about doing what truly feels right for you.
The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is the first step to practicing self-love because chiropractic concerns itself with the innate or inborn intelligence of the human body.
Why is that important?
Your brain and nervous system coordinate this intelligence, and in doing so, millions of vital body functions. Instructions are sent via your nervous system to the cells and organs of the body, directing in turn respiration, immune responses, digestion and growth. Your nervous system also governs your thoughts, your ability to concentrate, and the quality of your sleep and energy levels. The innate or inner intelligence of the body operates with such perfection that most of us are completely oblivious to it. It is your Innate Intelligence that allows you to adapt to, and live in your environment.
Therefore, your nervous system is the foundation of chiropractic care — chiropractic care is the first step to practicing self-love — and self-love is the foundation for who we are. That is of course until our body is unable to continue adapting to the relentless physical, emotional and chemical stressors we place on it. Only then is our health compromised.
Subluxations are created by physical, mental and chemical stress. Physical stress can range from knocks and falls to whiplash trauma and sustained postures. We can work to improve our posture and maintain consistent chiropractic care to increase our ability to adapt these stressors, but we can’t live a fulfilling life attempting to avoid traumas. Mental stress may result from work or relationship pressures, causing ligaments and muscles to tighten. If this stress is sustained, our body undergoes significant physiological changes, such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, cholesterol and many more. We can work to improve our coping mechanisms and maintain consistent chiropractic care to increase our ability to adapt these stressors, but we can’t always avoid stress…
Chemical stress includes anything from too much alcohol, sugar, toxins and preservatives to breathing environmental pollutants. These toxins will upset body chemistry, disrupting the tone of both muscles and ligaments, resulting in subluxations. But unlike physical and mental stress, we can avoid most exposure to chemical stressors.
The earth and its living creatures — particularly human beings — are now polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals and we have little or no understanding of the consequences. It is now estimated that babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified 455 chemicals in people; again, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe. (source)
Toxins are chemical substances that accumulate in our bodies and can interfere with normal functioning and chemical balance. We are exposed to vast numbers of toxins every day and elimination of these toxins is one of the body’s greatest challenges.
Our society’s love for cleanliness may be predisposing us to allergies and illness. The US Environmental Protection Agency compiled a report on indoor air quality, showing that many homes had chemical levels 70 times higher than levels in the air outside. The results also revealed that common cleaning and personal hygiene products are three times more likely to cause cancer than airborne pollutants and that an average of 1500 hazardous substances will find their way into our homes. (source)
Toxins can be extremely stressful for our bodies. Your nervous system coordinates all of your body’s cells, hormone levels and waste removal. Chemical stressors for your body can result in subluxations and nerve interference, and may impair your body’s ability to process toxins and cleanse itself. Many subluxations are pain-free and you may not even realize they are present, but if they are left uncorrected the body’s capacity for health can deteriorate. Chiropractic care removes nerve interference and helps the body to control and balance all of its bodily functions, enabling your body to perform at its greatest capacity, heal itself and increase your body’s ability to adapt these physical, mental and chemical stressors in the future.
Beware of Greenwashing!
While I would like to say that organic personal care and household products are always free of nasty chemicals, unfortunately, this is not the case. While organic products might contain fewer chemicals than non-organic products, you will need to familiarize yourself with the names of many of these chemicals and check products even if they claim organic ingredients.
Most products contain artificial colors, artificial fragrances, mineral oil, sulphates, parabens, talc, dimethicone, lanolin and propylene glycol, to name a few. A good motto to go by is if you can’t pronounce it or have only seen it in chemistry class, don’t use it!
Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually being an authentically green, natural cosmetic brand. These companies cash in on the green, natural bandwagon for profits, not for ethics.
The Environmental Working Group found that 80% of products that are labeled as gentle contain ingredients that are linked to allergies and to skin irritation. The products range from shampoos to soaps to toothpastes.
Did you know that 89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution? (source)
It is sobering when one first becomes aware of the staggering number of chemicals used in our everyday products. I could fill a book alone regarding their effects, which range from dermatitis, eczema and diarrhea, to mutagenic and carcinogenic concerns.
Click here for a list of beauty brands who want you to think they’re natural and green but aren’t!
Choosing Products That Care for You Naturally
These days it is widely accepted that residues from absolutely everything you put onto your skin can be absorbed into your blood stream. The skin is a living, breathing structure, so it makes good sense to keep your skin free from synthetic creams and oils.
The Environmental Working Group has a wonderful site where you can have your products assessed or ranked for toxicity. Their online safety guide assesses more than 27,000 personal care products. The EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database contains information not only about phthalates but over 7,000 other product ingredients. Test your family’s personal care products here!
One of my favorite tools for selecting any personal care product on-the-go is the free app, Think Dirty. Scan your products and find out just how filthy (or clean!) your bathroom currently is!
When it comes to living a healthy and natural lifestyle, what you put on your body is just as significant as what you put in your body. A true wellness lifestyle differs from prevention and can be defined as “an active lifelong process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions towards a more balanced and fulfilling life” (source). These priorities enable us to function at our best and involve securing good health through quality nutrition, sleep and exercise, minimization of toxins, reduction of stress, the maintenance of a well-functioning nervous system, and positive, happy thoughts.