If you happen to find yourself intimidated with creating big habits that are going to throw off your schedule and create havoc for your routine, just relax & breath deep. The steps below are easy ways to improve your emotional health. You should plan to commit yourself to making more out of your life through simple mindful practices. You owe it to yourself! So smile as you read knowing that you can implement these in small fractions throughout your day to make a lasting impression.
Sometimes you have to just take in the world around you ~ without thinking. Let your mind settle, take a breath and relax.
1. Be Kind to Yourself. Learn Self-Love.
This is a tough one… learn to treat yourself with love. No matter what! We can exhibit amazing understanding & patience with others but often lack these emotions when it comes to ourselves. When was the last time you were too hard on yourself? Put yourself into grief because the self-hatred you hid inside, the shame of it all?
We are taught through either religion or through our caregivers that we must love & treat others the way we expect to be loved & treated. But where is the lesson of self-love? Where is the devotion to treating ourselves with love, patience, understanding and respect?
Most of us walk through life thinking that we’re either:
- Not enough
- Not doing enough
- Not where we need to be
- Not giving enough
It’s all nonsense because I’ve never met a woman that WASN’T giving herself away. So release the pressure you place upon yourself on daily basis!
On a Pure Romance retreat last year, I was woken up to the awful hatred I held myself. In a simple self-reflection exercise, we were instructed to write down some of the negative things we tell ourselves. Phew did I have a list! I knew I told myself these things, whether or not they were true or I truly believed them, I said them in my head or out loud to myself. On a daily basis.I did it without thought, without (what I thought) consequence.
So here, sitting in a room of women I barely knew, I pushed my knees up against my chest & slightly closed my notebook while I wrote. I swiftly banged it shut when done, hiding these disgusting truths away from the group. Thinking we were done. I took a sigh of relief, knowing that my secret was safe & I could go-on living with the reassembling way I thought of myself.
But then the sh*t hit the fan. Hard.
Our group leader started to hand out small hand-held mirrors. I immediately knew what she was going to ask of us & even typing this now, my eyes are starting to tear up. Once we all held our mirrors, we were told to hold it up to our faces, look into our eyes and read all of our negative self-thoughts.
I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t look at myself because my eyes were welling up with tears. Although I had no problem calling myself names and saying horrible things in my head, to really say it directly to myself was a whole different ball game.
In that moment, I couldn’t handle the reality of how cruel I had been to myself. I would have never spoken to my mother, friends, co-workers or anyone else the way I had been speaking to myself. It was a huge wake up call to be kind to myself because I deserve it . And if I don’t believe that I am lovable, how can I expect others to?
The most rewarding way you can show love to yourself is to be compassionate.
2. Learn Mindfulness
Be in the moment, be aware and take it all in.
Mindfulness is simply being aware and controlling your experience. That’s right, control it.
Too often we reflect on what happens TO us instead of learning how we can control our reaction to the world around us. We can produce our environment instead of being a product of it.
I was constantly multi-tasking, never able to push 100% into anything. I was in an awful cycle. Trying out all of my new endeavors then feeling guilt & shame when I failed until a new idea appeared that I could rush to put all my effort into redeeming myself and only to find myself failing yet again.
I know that when I was able to stop this circle of pressure, I found true freedom. I was able to feel more in-tune with my tasks & even ask others for help when I needed it. (Oh lord, did I really need it the day of my wedding!)
Throughout your day, check in with yourself and see… is your mind full or are you mindful of the world around you?
3. Be More Compassionate
With all those around you. Always. I know it’s hard to stop yourself in a moment of frustration or anger, but for your own sake, you should learn how to. We all have dark times in our lives, times where we need the world to give us an ounce of compassion and I think it’s only fair that we offer that up to each other. You don’t know what challenges theyre facing, where they came from or are heading, what trials they have been through.
When your heart is filled with love and compassion, the world is truly a different color. More bright, the air feels lighter & people actually smile! The most rewarding thing you can do for your. Let go of the negative, release it since it legit does nothing to help you.
Especially that guy that cut you off doing 80 and almost hit 5 other drivers. Yeah, that
ding batguy too.
“Happiness comes in small doses folks. It’s a cigarette butt, or a chocolate chip cookie or a five second orgasm. You come, you smoke the butt you eat the cookie you go to sleep wake up and go back to f****** work the next morning, THAT’S IT! End of f****** list! ” -Dennis Leary
4. Get into Nature
I cannot recommend getting out into nature enough. Besides making you feel better, taking a hike in the woods could leave lasting health benefits. According to the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, getting out into nature can help with:
- Boosts immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress
- Improves mood
- Increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
- Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
- Increases energy level
- Improves sleep
Creating a habit of spending more time in nature is easy. Exercise outside instead of at the gym, spend lunch breaks at a park, create time over the weekend to be outdoors (does your dog need a walk around the block? Kayuh loves them!)
To meditate is to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect. It is a method to train your mind just as you would train your body. It can be as simple as sitting quietly for 20 minutes each morning to clear your mind, concentrate on your breathing. As thoughts begin to enter your mind, you can imagine a candle flame on your forehead. Guide each thought to the flame, let it extinguish and again focus on your breathing. There are many different types of meditation including guided, concentration, and even walking.
There’s also a real science when it comes to meditation. Yup, real physical and mental benefits including reducing stress & improving cognitive function. Headspace.com is a great place is start your meditation practices.
Hold yourself accountable & see how many of these skills you can master today!