Not too long ago I’ve written an article about Self Care, where I’ve talked about its importance and ways to get more balance in your life. Today I want to expand on that topic, because there are a lot more things you can do to improve your life and your wellbeing.
I know this sounds corny, but it’s incredibly important to practice self love. Many people, myself included, are way more gentle with other people than we are with ourselves. Why is that? We are spending the rest of our lives with ourselves so we should become our greatest supporter and biggest strength. The goal is to be kind, gentle, supportive and encouraging to ourselves so that we’re able to rise to our full potential.
As a general rule I’d say if you wouldn’t do or say it to your best friend, then don’t do it to yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up if you screwed up. Pick yourself up instead and look for the lesson or the adjustment you have to make. Being cruel to yourself only makes you feel worse and you feel powerless. If you’re kind to yourself and show compassion, you’re soothing your frustration. You’re way more likely to try again.
See for yourself what’s more encouraging:
‘Oh you good for nothing. You’ve screwed up yet again. You’re never going to make it, just bury yourself somewhere. Loser.’
‘Okay, so you’ve screwed up. So what? You can always try again. Failure is part of the process. Is there something you can learn? What can you do better next time to make it easier to succeed?’
Another important action is to praise yourself. If you’re like most people, you’re quick to judge and slow to praise. Praise and appreciation are such undervalued tools! If you want to improve your relationship with yourself than start giving yourself both. Celebrate your successes. Even the little ones. Especially the little ones! Made the bed this morning? Smile at yourself. Chosen the healthier lunch option? Tell yourself ‘well done me’. At the end of the day, sit down and reflect on your actions. What are the things that you’ve accomplished? Feel good about each one. You’ve done good! Have your own back. Please 🙂
Gratitude has quite some similarities to self love, because it also takes a look at all the positive things in life. Being grateful for even the little things brightens your whole life and improves both your mood and your outlook on life.
Being grateful is a practice and gets easier and easier with time. If you find yourself only staring at the things that you’re missing from in your life, chances are you’re feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. Appreciation is the key to your happiness. And appreciation is a conscious act.
There is a reason why many people have a complete change of mind after a tragic illness, because they suddenly realize that life is not for granted. Through the threat of losing their life they come to appreciate this miracle that is life. The same goes for losing your house, your job, your parents or anything important really. If you’re faced with the loss of something you rediscover a sense of appreciation.
It doesn’t have to be found through loss though. The solution here is to simply not taking anything for granted. I repeat. Don’t take anything for granted.
Life is a gift. Having a roof over your head is something to be grateful for. A loving family is a precious treasure. Being able to work on your dreams is a miracle. The ability to choose is an incredible blessing.
If you want to improve your ability to feel grateful, I suggest you’re starting a daily gratitude practice. You don’t have to write it down if you don’t feel like it. The idea is to take a few moments each day to bring some things that you’re grateful for to your awareness. Feel gratitude inside yourself. Think of the things you’re grateful for and let the appreciation radiate through your whole body. You’ll probably find a smile on your face at some point.
I’ve mentioned writing a journal in the section about sleep already, but it deserves its own mention. Keeping a journal is a great tool to reflect on your life and on your feelings. Most people rarely take the time to consciously think about it and stumble through life as a consequence. Journaling gives you an outlet and a means to think everything through and it’s way more effective (in my experience) than simply thinking about something. The act of getting it out on paper leaves more room for contemplation.
You can do this before you go to sleep, which is especially useful if you have trouble falling asleep, or you can do it first thing in the morning, to give yourself a clean slate. You can also turn to it whenever you feel the need to though. It doesn’t have to be pretty or have a special format, it’s really just a way to get everything out of your head.
Don’t censor yourself when you let everything out. You’re allowed to nag and growl and cry and wail. After you’ve been rambling on and on, I do suggest though that you’re finishing on a positive note. Focusing your attention on the positive things in your life improves your mood and keeps you from drowning in pity.
The last thing I’m going to mention today is mindfulness. The ability to be in the present moment and to be aware of yourself and your surroundings. I’ve talked about meditation already, which is a form of mindfulness, but today I want to talk about mindfulness in your actions.
You can live your life on auto pilot and skim through your days or you can turn your actions into experiences through paying attention. Yes, there are actions, especially repetitive ones, that switch to auto pilot automatically, like your daily commute. With conscious effort though you can experience it fully by looking around, taking in the scenery and feeling the seat and the steering wheel. Even if it’s only for a few moments at a time.
Or you incorporate some creative and relaxing activities in your day. Working with our hands lets us experience the action and it also lets our minds wander. Both have a calming and refreshing effect on your mind and soul.
What these activities are is up to you. You can paint in an adult coloring book, you can knit, build furniture or make art. Playing an instrument or singing your heart out (even when you’re not that good at it) is great as well. Anything that you can enjoy consciously and that’s not simply consuming something like watching Netflix or scrolling through Social Media.
This book is created as an 8-week plan to incorporate mindfulness and it’s a great read.
With this I’m ending this article. I hope you’ve gained some inspiration or insight. Please don’t let this be yet another article that you’ve simply read, but didn’t put to practice. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with wanting to do everything at once, but take one thing and give it an honest try. Let us know how it goes.
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