Monday, September 26, 2011

Choosing Happiness: Love and Sex for a Happier, Healthier Life

Being happy is something we all want, duh Captain Obvious, right?   I’ve realized that I truly want to be happy and to find the love of my life, I need to feel happiness within myself.   The old adage, love yourself before you can love someone else is so true.  I do love myself, yet there are several things that are causing me stress today and blocking me from being truly happy.
I’ve been thinking about all this because I know I want love (and sex) in my life and yet my impulse is to lock it out and not try to put myself out there anymore.  Not that it’s a bad thing to take a break for awhile but I know it’s only going to block out future happiness if I do it too long.
Somehow, I’ve run into this expression a lot lately that there are only two emotions: fear and love, every other emotion we have a name for is just a derivative of either fear or love.  The more I’ve thought of it the more sense it makes.   Fear causes emotions like: anger, anxiety, guilt and sadness.   We feel all of those things in their own unique way, yet they are all rooted in fear somehow.  When we experience one of these feelings, our body produces a hormone called cortisol as a defense of these emotions.  Unfortunately, cortisol has a negative effect on our health at large, it increases high blood pressure, pain and decreases libido.  
On the other hand Love causes emotions like: contentment, joy, compassion and caring.   When we feel love, our body produces oxytocin and our body reacts by reducing blood pressure, pain and increasing libido, to name only a few.  (For more information see: “In Love & Survival, Dr. Dean Ornish points out that love and intimacy are such powerful determinants of health that if they were produced in pill form, doctors who failed to prescribe them for unhealthy patients would be guilty of malpractice.” (from
If we are experiencing and giving love, the more open we are to not only feeling better but having better overall health.  We are also more likely to have sex, which of course reduces stress.  What better incentive could there be to have sex than that?   So in essence what this is saying is that if you’re feeling love and having sex then your life is exponentially happier.   It just keeps multiplying, the positive emotions just keep growing, the fear is minimized and your health is better.
Once I realized all this, it made me see that my impulse of withdrawing myself to avoid fear would only end up hurting me more in the future.   Although I’m obviously not a shrink, I’d bet a fifth of vodka and a hundred bucks that when people feel like this, it’s probably when they are most vulnerable to addictions like gambling.   People are trying to block out the fear with things like drugs, hoarding, overeating, or excessive television, addictive sex,  etc distract people from their pain temporarily.   Unfortunately, they only damage relationships more, create more distance and make a bad situation even worse.    Distractions like this also keep our bodies from producing oxytocin, and harm our health.
Knowing this helped me to detach myself when someone strikes out at me.  If someone is lashing out at me, it probably means they are afraid of something and this is their way of coping with it.   For example, last week I was devastated about losing my relationship with “The Reader” and I told him how sad I was.  He totally flipped out, screamed and was furious with me.  That anger made me bat shit crazy and we ended up hating each other.  Now that I can take a step back and see it for what it is.  I realize he probably felt guilty or responsible in some way for my sadness but couldn’t deal with those emotions in a healthy way. 
It made me realize that I also need to reduce my own personal stress.   I’ve been a freaked out little train wreck of stress the past few months.   I’ve been working  25/8 and probably only making my stress worse on myself and those who love me.  Yet, I haven’t done a lot to dig to the core of what’s really bothering me.    So, that’s what I did over the weekend, I started making a list of the stressors in my life, made some goals and started by doing some small things now to start attacking them.   
I realize I’m not saying anything totally new here, you may have read some of this material before, but maybe not in a dating/relationship context.   We truly need love and sex to survive, so let’s hug it out and love it out.  I’m trying to save your life here by lovin you up…  I’m a giver like that, what can I say?
The Single Mom


Melissa said...

I just started following your blog a couple weeks ago...and I have to say that you put into words what I am thinking/feeling. I am a single mom trying to trudge through this whole mom/dating world...which is not an easy task. Thanks for making me laugh, think, and realize I'm not the only one going through this!

singlemom said...

Thank you so much, Melissa. It makes my day to hear that because I put so much into doing this and doing it for the right reasons.

It's so much harder than I ever dreamed from every standpoint, but I just try to learn and laugh as I go. Hopefully, sharing my experiences helps and it makes us all feel like we are all going through the same things.

If you're not yet following me on Facebook, I recommend it for a regular kick in the butt, pat on the back and community. Here's a link >

Thanks again, for sharing Melissa and keep on doing it, you aren't alone!


DavidRayDog said...

You are a giver SMD. I love you for sharing so much of your heart & soul. Among other things of course. ;D

A million smooches to you sweetie.

Tora said...

I just found your blog through a mutual follower on twitter.

I'm fascinated and though I'm not in your situation at all, what you've written in this post resonates a lot anyway!

My baby is 15 months old and just started sleeping through the night regularly -- my older son slept well from the start, so the last 18 or so months have been difficult & a bit of a shock to the system. Add to that I've taken a career break from being a scientist to have my 2nd and last child -- I've been stressing out a lot about not having a job and blah blah blah.

The last few weeks since the baby has been sleeping have been better & I've actually been putting in applications for fellowships and jobs. So things should be getting better -- but I was still feeling very stressed and depressed, even though I was starting to catch up on sleep.

Just the last day or two, I've been giving a lot of thought to the "you make the decision whether to be happy or not yourself" and trying to put it into practice more and more.

A lot of what I'm dealing with is fear: fear that I'll never reach my goal of becoming a successful scientist by my definition, what I'd ever do with my life if I don't get there, etc.

But I am extremely lucky to have 2 wonderful sons (5yo & the 15mo old), a better-than-can-be-imagined extremely supportive husband, and really an easy life.

I need to focus on all the things that I am doing (and make sure I'm doing them) on a daily basis to achieve my goals in career and life.

And be thankful for the things that I have every day.

In any case, reading your blog really resonated. I'll be doing so more.

Also, a book on happiness that I really liked -- it's on the science of it and does a good job of explaining. Not that you're doing a bad job, but it might give you some more to add to what you're already doing a great job thinking about:

Good luck in life and I look forward to reading more of what you write! :-)