In this day and age where everything is so fast-paced, taking care of your mental well-being should be your priority. And the best way to begin is to learn how to practice self love.
No matter who you are or what you do, everybody can benefit from a bit of self love. Because let’s be honest, it is easy to fall back into a pattern of beating yourself up.
The constant feeling of inadequacy can become unmanageable. That is why it is critical that you work on self love. This way, you can overcome those self-defeating feelings and adopt self-nurturing habits that promote self-love. This can cultivate a healthier and positive mindset.
Plus, it can bring positive change in your overall mental health, and thus, all parts of your life from career, relationships, and most importantly, your physical health.
Learning how to practice self-love should be an enjoyable and intuitive process once you get the hang of it.
How To Practice Self Love: 11 Golden Mantras
To clarify what self-love means, it mainly refers to being able to feel good about yourself, even in times of disappointment.
“Self-love is all about building your self-esteem and self-image,” as psychoanalyst Laurie Hollman Ph.D tells Bustle. “The idea is to use your ideal self as your guide, not expecting to reach it, but to give you direction and a hopeful outlook. We often depend on others for validation, but it’s important to have your own internal compass,” Hollman adds.
In other words, no one else can do the work for us, but ourselves. Trust that everyone struggles with self-esteem issues, even if it may seem like you are alone.
Nonetheless, it is not an excuse to let your self-care go down in the dumps if you desire to have a healthier relationship with yourself. The world can only become a better place if everyone becomes a self-love advocate.
Even if you are aware of public support, equipping and empowering everyone with the knowledge and skills to achieve their best possible mental health should not be a compromise.
Now, try adopting the following 11 habits that can help promote better self-love.
1. Make self-care a priority
“Take some time out for yourself each day to do something just for you,” psychotherapist Kristen Martinez, M.Ed., Ed.S., LMHCA, NCC tells Bustle.
“If you’re super busy and don’t envision yourself being able to squeeze in a trip to the spa every day, you’re over-thinking it: you can take 15 minutes to read a chapter of your favourite book with a fresh cup of hot tea, and that is self-care. Whatever you want to do, that is nourishing for your body and soul, do it,” Martinez adds.
2. Adopting mindfulness practices
According to research from Australia’s Griffith University, incorporating a regular mindfulness practice can help secure self-esteem. This, including not reacting to feelings and thoughts that naturally arise and leave, being present in the moment, and adopting a non-judgmental outlook.
3. See your body as a temple
“People who practice self-love respect their body by eating healthy and exercising,” personal development coach Trevicia Williams, Ph.D. told Bustle.
“They view their body as a sound board, a place to tune into and listen. Doing so helps them prevent harmful activities or refrain from eating unhealthy foods,” Williams added.
4. Living day by day
Taking it one day at a time ensures that you can see changes build up overtime in a sustainable manner. Improving your self-worth will take time, so do not expect to see substantial changes overnight.
“Take each day one at a time, and as you move through it, pat yourself on the back for small and large accomplishments,” said Hollman. “Keep in mind that it’s not just what you’ve done or finished, but the process of expressing yourself in these different ways,” Hollman added.
5. Forgive yourself
Allow yourself to forgive everyone who you feel has wronged you, and remind yourself that nobody is perfect. “A deterrent to self-love is holding onto regrets or shame even about mistakes from the past,” said Maria Sirois, Psy. D, a clinical psychologist.
When you find a way to forgive yourself for all that you did in the past and commit yourself to improving yourself, it will increase self love. This is a way perfect start to learn how to practice self love.
6. Have big, long term goals
Have a vision for your own life, and create specific, measurable and concrete goals that you can set and focus your sight on accomplishing. “Develop some long range plans for going towards what might inspire you,” said Hollman.
“It may be what you do in your work or something new you want to learn. Give yourself credit for being open minded about where you’re headed,” she added.
7. Avoid comparisons
“Anytime we spend time in our heads thinking that we are ‘less than’ because others have more, look differently, or somehow are ‘better’ decreases self-love,” said Sirois.
In fact, studies have shown that comparing your life to others online results in a negative spiral of loneliness and depression. Have you not heard of the saying that comparison is the thief of joy?
8. Focus on positive self-talk
“If you notice that you’re constantly beating yourself up in your own head, zero in on these thoughts,” said Martinez.
“Find ways to counteract them that are more loving and compassionate in nature. What would a beloved friend say to you during this time? What would you say to your younger self if she was going through this experience?”
Martinez questions. So its best to show yourself that there can be another part of this pertinent conversation.
9. Relish alone time
Many people are afraid of spending time alone, as there are no distractions, which forces us to face our thoughts head on. Instead, learn to be productive and utilise this time as a form of self-improvement. Read a book or two to relax, or work on that side project you have been neglecting for a long time.
“Take time to spend alone in sheer contemplation,” said Hollman. “Relax your shoulders and take a break even during hectic times. Those moments of introspection and easing into a comforting place will motivate you to continue forward building your self-love,” adds Hollman.
10. Connect with positive and supportive people
“If you are trying to cultivate self-love, it can be extremely difficult to sustain this practice if you’re wading through a constant wave of Negative Nancys in your life,” said Martinez.
Adding, “Are your friends open to treating themselves with love, compassion, respect, and dignity? If they are, great! If they’re not, try to find others who might be more understanding and can give you more peace of mind when you’re around them.”
Indeed, you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with.
11. Do more of what you love
“If you are subsisting on a mindless, boring job just to pay the bills, that’s totally okay — what are you doing during the rest of your day that can nourish you?” said Martinez.
“What are your hobbies, interests, things that you’re good at? Keep in mind your skill set and your unique talents that you bring to the world.”
A Temple University’s School of Medicine’s study very simply explains how to practice self love. It says that it is important to get involved in activities that you can feel good while engaging in it, as it helps to improve our outlook on life.
Understand how to practice self love is critical for you to feel more motivated in reaching your goals. Because it becomes a positive feedback loop of happiness in the long term. After all, happiness is an inside job.