Yep, Valentine’s day is coming up, and I’m not just saying that to rub it in your face. I’m sure you’ve already been reminded plenty just by opening your front door and passing shop windows filled with overly glossy plastic hearts. So, why is my title a Tina Turner song, and why oh Lord why am I bringing up the topic of Valentine’s day?
I can assure you, I want to see no more of a chubby cupid shooting arrows than you do. I’m talking about love because it’s good for you. For your actual, beating, human heart (not the overpriced Thorntons chocolate gift hearts, although I’m sure they’re also great). Have you ever spontaneously given someone a small gift and felt better afterwards? Well, that’s because giving kindness (and receiving it too, but less so) scientifically and psychologically elevates your mood. In a way, you could say this blog is saving you from a broken heart, because it’s all about how loving and being loved is a fundamental part of what makes us human. Of what makes us survive. Opening your heart to one of the most powerful emotions can really change how we see the world. This includes our attitude to life in general, which, fortunately or unfortunately, is formed by our studies and uni life.
Can you count the number of uni events, club nights or balls held for Valentine’s day on one hand? Probably not. The hype around finding the perfect date to bring you roses and a special cadbury’s treat box comes around every year whether you like it or not. However, often self-love and kindness towards ourselves is overlooked. We need to reassess the way we think about love and remember what matters most. Love towards your friends, your family, strangers, and, most importantly, to yourself helps make everyone feel that tad bit more special and happier.
Aside from detrimentally distracting you from your studies by being preoccupied with receiving a surprise love letter from a secret admirer of yours, Valentine’s day tends to put more pressure on yourself. Whether some feel like they’re not good enough to be in a relationship, or are overly anxious about finding somebody that fits their personality perfectly. Think about all the mental health blogs we’ve written on Push previously, whether that be about student mental health specifically or about a more general outlook on life. Most of the time, I encourage you to really rekindle or discover something which brings you joy and content. What gets your heart beating more than loving something or someone?
When we open our hearts out, and accept love towards ourselves and others, it becomes more common to see opportunities, doorways and entrances to options in life which otherwise might have seemed off putting or dull. It’s a win-win really. Spreading kindness raises your dopamine levels, making you feel good about yourself, elevating your attitude towards life, and, yes, to look at it with our ‘student caps’ on probably would put you in a better mood for enjoying that coursework you’ve got due.
So, what has love got to do with it? Finding joy in the gestures from others (yes, it can include Thorntons chocolate and a bouquet of roses) is just as, if not more, important than learning to love yourself and what makes you happy. Sorry Tina Turner, I’d have to disagree with you- love is not ‘just a second hand emotion,’ it’s something that helps us all out, to think more optimistically and spread joy.
Wishing you a happy Valentine's day!
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral. about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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