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Loving Self-Care is Like a Symbiotic Relationship

The term self-care refers to behaviors related to nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress-management, mindfulness practice, mind-training, social connections, and other health-generative behaviors described in the book: In Your Own Hands: New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions.

Very few people engage in optimal self-care. Loving self-care, as I use the term, refers to an optimal level of self-care and self-love that you would normally extend to a newborn infant. Loving self-care is the natural evolution of the realization that we are in a mutually dependent relationship with our bodies.

A Native American philosophy is that Mother Earth should always be protected because if we destroy her, we destroy our home. Loving self-care is about the realization that if we harm our bodies in any way, we harm our home. This may seem obvious, but then, why isn’t that reflected in our behavior? Why don’t more of us extend the love and care to ourselves that we extend to a newborn infant?

Good marriages are the result of a commitment to work together as a team. It is important to courageously do what will best serve the relationship and to not do anything that could possibly sabotage the relationship.

When it comes to the relationship with the body, most people treat the body as a slave to the mind. A good parent would never give junk food to a baby. But, those same good parents commonly feed themselves foods that are bad for their own health. Only a small percentage of the population gets enough daily exercise. Many people put toxic smoke and drugs into their poor bodies.

In my years of working in mind-body medicine with clients and more recently, in retirement, teaching a popular course in the Community Education department at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California, I have found that the best way to get people to practice good self-care is not through discipline, because that only works in the short-term. The best solution for the long-term is to learn and practice treating yourself kindly, practicing self-forgiveness, and viewing your role as being that of a good and loving parent to your body.

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The purpose of these videos and my website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live with self-care mastery. It is for all medical patients, caregivers, and advocates who want to learn how to collaborate with physicians to optimize the efficacy of your medical care.

Loving Self-Care is Like a Symbiotic Relationship

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

See his extensive website:

In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2016). Loving Self-Care is Like a Symbiotic Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Jun 2016
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