Today is Valentine’s Day which celebrates love. Although many people enjoy exchanging cards and gifts and declaring their affection for others, some of us find Valentine’s Day very difficult. If you’re in a relationship or not, the romantic ideals shown in films, TV and social media can be hard to live up to, which isn’t great for our wellbeing.
Today’s post uses Valentine’s Day to introduce the next theme that can improve your wellbeing – learning. Learning in adulthood can help us feel more positive about ourselves and our lives – this is what today’s blog and activity aim to do.
But what’s learning got to do with love? One of the key benefits of learning is that it helps us connect with others. Also, learning about the different types of love – the focus of today’s activity – can increase our awareness of the different ways we love and are loved, most of which aren’t celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
Theme 2: Learning
Learning broadens our minds and improves insight into all aspects of our lives – ourselves, our relationships and the world around us – which in turn is good for our wellbeing. Learning isn’t just about memorising something new, ready for a test. It also involves having new experiences, developing skills and gaining knowledge that can enrich our lives.
Learning can be a time consuming process. However, a recent large-scale study showed that training related to hobbies or leisure activities does not need to be of a high intensity or duration to improve wellbeing. Therefore, learning something new in just 15 minutes can help you feel better within yourself.
Why is learning good for our health and wellbeing?
Learning beyond our school days has many benefits such as helping us to connect with others, give us a sense of purpose and increase our self-esteem and self-confidence. Continuing to learn after school, college or university is linked with feeling:
- More optimistic;
- More satisfied with life and
- More capable of dealing with stress.
The confidence and self-efficacy gained by learning can even improve our ability to manage our health. For example, we can make better decisions about our health and better adhere to instructions from clinicians. Not only that, lifelong learning can prolong independence which can result in less reliance on healthcare services as we get older.
Reservations about learning
Although learning can have a range of benefits for our wellbeing, some of us have had negative learning experiences which cause us to feel stressed and anxious. This may in part be due to the association between learning and assessment. Even when assessments are routine and expected, the possibility of failure can be very distressing.
None of the 15 minute wellbeing learning activities involve any tests or assessments, just questions that encourage you to gain new knowledge, develop skills and even challenge you to try something that you may not have done before.
Different types of love
Valentine’s Day typically celebrates romantic love between couples and encourages single people to share their hidden romantic feelings and affection for one another. However, there is more to love than romance. The ancient Greeks had more than 30 different words to describe love in all its forms. ‘Eros’ is the word used for attraction, romance and sexual desire, the type of love typically celebrated by Valentine’s Day.
Another type of love is ‘Philia’ the love we have for people with whom we share experiences and goals. This may be your team mates in a netball or football club, soldiers in the same army regiment or even your co-workers.
Today’s activity asks you to discover and learn about different types of love. Not only that, but also reflect on your experiences of the multiple ways we love and are loved. The worksheet has space for you to note up to four different types of love, though you do not have to fill in all the boxes if you run out of time.
Click the link below to download the worksheet. You can fill it in using the ‘fill and sign’ tool or alternatively print it off and fill it in by hand.
If you’d like to share how you got on with this activity, or a type of love that you experience, please do get in touch.
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