Mind and Body

Say 'I love you' with these Valentine's Day gifts

Beautiful young couple wearing red knit hats. They are looking at each other. 


Beautiful young couple wearing red knit hats. They are looking at each other. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786786][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/couples.jpg[/img][/url]

I find it fascinating that we’re in the habit of showing love by contributing to our loved ones’ health detriments or our own financial woes.  

Since when does love need to lead to love handles or lost sleep?

With New Year’s and weight resolutions right behind us, candy hearts and chocolate roses lie before us.  Americans spend billions of dollars on Valentine’s Day.  

Given the economic climate, you need not fall into financial worries despite the heavy marketing pushing Valentine’s Day spending.  

Here are a couple of ways to show your lasting love with gestures that last longer than sweets and preserve your savings:

1. Treat your loved one to a unique experience.  Often, experiences are treasured beyond the fleeting pleasure we experience from food or flowers.  The website http://www.xperiencedays.com/ provides some creative ideas. I love the idea of taking a course to enhance your learning, thus creating a weekly time to connect around a shared passion or class.

2. An “I owe you” book. Thoughtfully offering crafty coupons that your partner actually desires speaks more of your relationship than letting a stranger select the present.  In addition to easing your partner’s stress by helping with the laundry or providing a foot massage, offering a caring gesture actually increases your love for your partner.  When we show love, we feel more loving.

3. Photo books and cards.  Looking at a picture of a loved one actually reduces one’s experience of pain. Creating a photo book online may create lasting feelings of connectivity.  In the midst of a busy week, looking at exotic trips or wedding photos may bring buried memories to the front of your otherwise cluttered mind. Books and cards may be read and re-read and don’t take up too much space. Thoughtful words and shared photographs preserve the uniqueness of your relationship.

4. A mix tape/playlist.  A number of my patients’ have recently beamed with joy upon receiving a mix tape or a special playlist. Music is so portable and uplifting.

5. A shared health goal.  Planning to take on a goal with your partner solidifies your partnership. Deciding together to not complain for two weeks or to try a new fitness trend in your city is mutually rewarding and stimulates both love and wellness.

Jennifer Taitz  is a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York City. She is the author of End Emotional Eating: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Cope with Difficult Emotions and Develop Healthy Relationship to Food. Visit her website drjennytaitz.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.