Yesterday I created an Instagram story with some tips to increase the Happiness, these tips were:
– Be Present
– Build positive relationships
– Spend time with happy people
– Sleep well
– Get a pet
– Be grateful
And I received a private message from a follower saying “And Love YourSelf”. This follower was so right… this is the base for happiness, the base to build healthy relationships, the base to reach our goals, the base to grow. Some people think that self-love is selfish, but of course, living in the extremes is the real problem. If we do not love ourselves, how are we going to achieve our dreams? Will Happiness come to our home and ring the bell? Let´s be realistic, Happiness does not come from outside, you cannot find a bottle of Happiness in the supermarket or watching TV. Happiness must be sought within!
You have probably heard the phrase ‘self love’ and how it’s good for you and it’s many benefits. But what does self love actually mean?
Self love is accepting yourself unconditionally, with all your flaws and strengths; treating yourself with kindness and compassion, not being harsh or judging you for the mistakes you make or have made in the past and not comparing yourself with other people. It also means making yourself a priority and listening to what your mind and body is saying and reflecting on it.
Why practice self love?
Besides making you feel good, practising self love has its many benefits, such as:
Increased life satisfaction:
When you start practising self love, it also increases your appreciation for life. You can notice a shift in your attitude, where you are more hopeful and positive about your present and future and feel more satisfied with life in general.
Becoming your best possible self:
When you start loving yourself, you are not comparing yourself with anyone else. The only person you are competing with was the person you were in the past, with an aim of becoming better and better everyday and ultimately becoming the best possible version of yourself.
Better Mental Health:
You will be better able to manage your mental health. Loving yourself can keep you from getting lost in your own head and getting caught up in a path of negative spiral. When you develop a healthy positive relationship with yourself, you will find it easier to resolve or handle your mental health issues in a better manner.
Other people’s opinions hold less value:
When you start listening to your inner voice, believe in it and devote time to what’s important to you and do what makes you happy, you will eventually be able to tune out the outside noises of other people’s opinions.
When we love ourselves, we become aware of our thoughts that are causing stress and how we react to them. We can start to question their truthfulness and consciously think more helpful thoughts.
If you want to work with me to increase your self-love, you can book a free coaching session here with me. We will explore who you are and what your needs are in order to set the transformation plan that better works for you.
Now that we are aware of some of the benefits of self love, let us look at some simple practices you can do to make loving yourself a part of your day to day life:
When you are aware of the way you think, feel and act, it will be easier for you to identify negative patterns of thinking and behaviour and consciously choose to think, feel and behave in a way that reflects love and compassion towards yourself.
To become more aware of of your thoughts and feelings, ask yourself these questions multiple times a day, “How am I feeling?”, “What am I thinking?”.
This will help you identify the negative traps in your thinking and think more rationally which will also change the way you feel because thoughts and feelings are interconnected.
It is easier to love yourself, when you are not guilty or have regrets of the past. Self-forgiveness is not only recommended but absolutely essential if we wish to become emotionally healthy and become more peaceful. So forgive and release yourself from the crutches of the shame and guilt. One of the forgiveness exercises you can do for self is visualisation.
A visualisation exercise:
Find a quiet place to sit with your eyes closed, turn your attention to yourself and say out loud to yourself, “I forgive myself for ___________.” Imagine that you are allowing all the resentment, guilt and shame leaving you and say quietly to yourself that I choose to let go of all the emotions that no longer serve me. Do this exercise for at least once a week for 5 minutes until you feel like you have completely freed yourself from all the anger and resentment.
Apart from this exercise, you can also do the guided forgiveness meditations available on YouTube which are also very effective.
Louise Hay recommends this powerful exercise in her book, “You Can Heal Your Life”. Stand in front of a mirror, look into your eyes, say your name and ‘__________ I love and accept you exactly as you are’. Do this twice in a day, once in the morning as soon as you get up and at night before you go to bed. Doing this exercise may not be easy for some people at first and even seem really silly but as you start doing it regularly you will find that it becomes easier to look into your eyes and say the words. As you continue doing this exercise on a regular basis, you will notice that you are less critical and more accepting of yourself. You will appreciate yourself for who you are and will embrace you as a whole, with your good as well as not so good qualities.
Set clear boundaries:
You’ll love yourself more when you set clear boundaries and learn to say no to anything which you feel will harm or deflect you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Distance yourself from people whose energy doesn’t vibe with yours and surround yourself with those who truly understand you and spending time with whom will make you feel optimistic and rejuvenated.
Challenge the negative self talk:
Most of us don’t even realise what we are saying to ourselves. I’m sure we would never speak to the people we love and care about in the same manner we speak to ourselves. So, challenge yourself to actually listen to the way you talk to yourself and write down whatever you were thinking. Writing down the thoughts we are having not only helps get them out of our head, but also disempowers its hold on us. Once you have written down all your thoughts, challenge their truthfulness by asking yourself these questions,
– How do I know if this thought is accurate?
– What evidence do I have to support this thought or belief?
– How can I test my assumptions or beliefs to find out if they are accurate?
– Are there any other ways I could look at this situation?
– Is it really in my control?
– Am I making assumptions?
– Am I making this personal when it isn’t?
Allow yourself to just sit, for however long you can. It can be a minute, 5 or 10 minutes or maybe more. The goal is to just be, without doing anything. Letting your thoughts be and be aware of your breathing. This practice centres you and helps you relax and combat the stress that can creep in sometimes during the day.
Create a self care ritual:
Create a routine for yourself which you would look forward to, which helps you de stress and relax. For example, as a part of your nightly routine you can take shower, find a quiet place to sit, light an aromatic candle and reflect on your day by appreciating yourself for the things you did well and thinking of ways you could improve; being grateful for all that did go well in your day; switch off all your gadgets 15-20 minutes before you go to sleep and put on some soothing music or read a book to unwind and release all the stress and tension accumulated through the day.
When you include all the necessary nutrients in your diet and stay hydrated, it will help you stay physically and mentally healthy, feel great, have more energy and boosts your mood.
Exercising regularly makes you feel good because when you are physically active your brain releases feel good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. These hormones make you feel exhilarated, happy and alleviates stress. Apart from the psychological aspects, regular work out will also help you stay physically fit which is a great confidence booster and allows you to engage in activities you enjoy.
Its like the case of oranges and apples. There is no common basis for comparing yourself with anyone else because you are a unique person and there is no one quite like you in this entire world. The next time you find yourself getting caught up in this web of comparison, remember that you are perfect just the way you are and are doing the best you can in the given circumstances.
Find your happy place:
Identify a place that makes you feel happy and excited and just let’s you be. It can be different for every person, like for some it can be a local bookstore, a corner café for someone else or maybe a neighbourhood park for a few of you. Wherever it is, just go there and spend some time whenever possible.
Pick a day where you don’t have to do anything. Listen to your instincts, do whatever you feel like doing and leave what you don’t feel like doing for another day. This is exclusively your day and you get to choose the way you want to spend it.
Sometimes it is not so easy to implement all of this and we need some external support. We are humans, right? Book a free coaching session here with me if any blockers don´t let you reach your life goals.