Six Practical Ways to Love Yourself More
The self-help industry is a booming business, right alongside the pharmaceutical companies, therapists and other such means of achieving "normality." What most people don't realize is that they can help themselves without spending a dime, without spending valuable time in a doctor's office, and without popping mood-altering pills just to get by.
Happiness, the mental state of well being, is easier to achieve than most people are led to believe. Here you'll find twelve methods of bringing happiness into your life.
Letting go of negative thought patterns is one method of achieving happiness. Affirmations in a positive and individual sense allow you to focus your mental attention on things that are good, rather than things that are bad. An affirmation is a positive thought stream that brings to the forefront of your mind that good thing. An affirmation is generally a short statement aimed at specifics which you may subconsciously know already. Most self-help programs include affirmations in some form, and range from mildly effective to possibly triggering. The end goal of speaking affirmations is to highlight positive qualities you possess and support your strengths.
- I love myself, and in loving myself, I heal myself.
- I am grateful for the abundance in my life.
- I am surrounded by loving influences.
- I am worthy of love, from within and from others.
- I choose to make healthy decisions.
- I am special, wonderful, and unique.
- I attract harmonious relationships.
- My life is filled with joy.
Taking Control of Vices
A vice is a behavior, habit or object used that is considered to be immoral in a social or cultural way. Most vices are financially and sometimes emotionally draining. A vice is often an addiction, and addictions have a negative impact on your health, either mental or physical. When you think of a vice, behaviors such as gambling, alcohol, or drugs. Religious doctrine regarding what constitutes a vice varies, and can range from the "Seven Deadly Sins" to Judeo-Christian believers, to jealousy, anger, or promiscuity. Even smoking cigarettes or indulging in fatty but delicious food can be considered a vice. Vices are a provider of false joys, becoming coping mechanisms that allow an individual not to deal with their underlying problems.
Because of the overwhelming number of vices that rely on an expenditure of money, changing your habits has numerous benefits to consider:
Health - Distancing yourself from a vice such as smoking, illicit drug use or reducing your alcohol consumption have innumerable health benefits, reducing your risk of organ damage, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and much more. A healthier body often leads to a healthier mind, chemically speaking.
Social - The social ramifications of ceasing submission to your vices are many as well, as overindulgence in a vice tends to lead to negative reactions from friends, acquaintances and loved ones.
Financial - Consider smoking as a vice, for example. If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, and spend $5 a pack, you spend roughly $150 a month on cigarettes. Cutting your smoking down by half not only greatly reduces your risk of the various forms of cancer that cigarettes can contribute to the causes of, but also reduces your monthly spending by half. Using this example, cutting back in such a drastic fashion could save you almost $1,000 a year.
Have More Fun!
Chances are, if you are an adult, not only do you know what you enjoy doing - you likely don't do what you enjoy often enough! With adulthood comes a lot of responsibility, stress, worry, trouble and work. This causes us to forget that we are also meant to fulfill ourselves, let go of the worry and the stress, and take time to revel in life however we so choose to revel. For some, this may mean sports - watching or playing - and for others this may mean curling up with a good book or playing a video game.
Whatever your chosen forms of entertainment, make time in your busy life to indulge in the things you love doing. If you like music, unwind with your favorite artists. Spend time with no concrete "plan." The point is to let go of worry, to let yourself be free for a while, even if you have to schedule that down time. Try not to overanalyze whether one activity would be more fun than another. Plain and simple, find something fun, make time for that something, and then just do it.
By indulging yourself in an entertaining activity, you also stimulate your brain and your body chemistry, giving yourself good vibes, endorphins, and generally improving your overall mental health. Remember - just because you're an adult does not mean you lose all ability or reason to play once in a while.
Simplify Your Life
There are a lot of resources out there on the Internet and in books that will tell you to do crazy things in order to simplify your life. We live in a very complex world, and every day our social structures get more complex. All this complexity strikes against the grain of our baser thought processes - believe it or not, personal happiness is one of those processes! So, instead of throwing away a certain percentage of your belongings, limiting your activities to small portions of your day or cutting your possible activities out based on algorithmic factors never revealed fully to you, try these easy ideas:
- Recognize your smallness in comparison to the rest of the universe, and then embrace that fact. The reality of your situation is that the only person truly depending on you is yourself.
- Spend time examining every part of your life, material or otherwise, and your priorities within those areas will sort themselves out. The things that fall to the wayside can be cut out of your life, and yes, that does even mean the people that fall to the wayside.
- The old adage, "There are no problems, only solutions," is true. Embracing that thought process can actually help you find solutions to the problems you thought you had.
- If you don't want to do it - DON'T DO IT!
- Let go of negativity, from stuff, from people, from experiences. Focus and aim yourself toward positivity.
- Don't be too proud to ask for help.
RAOK - Random Acts of Kindness
Think about the last time someone did something nice for you or to you. Remember that feeling for a moment. Take a long moment to really examine how you felt when you were a recipient of that kindness. Now imagine how you could feel if you knew - without a shadow of a doubt - that you had brought that same feeling to another person. The power of kindness is a balm to the spirit, and can help you to feel better about yourself, can improve the world around you, and can inspire a pay-it-forward attitude in others, which just causes more good vibes all around.
Here are some examples of random acts of kindness:
- Spend time volunteering somewhere. Whether it is through your church/faith organization, your local homeless shelter, animal shelter, hospital, give your time to the pursuit of assisting others.
- Hold doors open for people. It seems relatively minor, but not only is it polite, but it is a generally nice, simple, fast way to improve a moment in someone's life. It will also help you become a more patient person.
- Pick up trash rather than stepping over it, and toss it into the nearest trash can. Random acts of kindness are good for the planet as well as people!
- Smile when you meet a stranger's gaze. Smiles are an infectious thing, in the very best way.
- If you are passionate about a cause, find ways to aid it. This could be through a donation of time, helping to educate others about it, or simply spreading the word about the cause so that others may devote time and energy to it's success.
- Ever been in line at a store and watched someone dig through every pocket or fold of their wallet to make up the last dollar or so of their purchase and felt a little annoyed at how long the line was taking? Next time, see if you have some change to donate to the person. You never know if the person you're helping really is on their last nickel and your help may be the bright point of their day.
Identify and Pursue Your Dreams
One major complaint people express in the course of their lives is that they are not doing what they truly desire to do - be it in their workplace, their home life, or otherwise. This can be hard, as it may not be clear to you what your dreams truly are, but that is a problem best solved through introspection.
Taking the time to identify your dreams, your life ambitions, is a weighty process that will not only help you gain forward momentum, but will also help you become more satisfied with your life overall. Once you have identified your dreams, you can take clear steps to achieve them. In taking these steps, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Drastic change can often lead to stress, worry and unrest in the home, and these things are counterproductive to your path to happiness. Before making any serious life changes, educate yourself and make informed decisions with the help of friends, family, and your loved ones.
In the end, the only person who can honestly make you happy is YOU. You have the power and the ability to create a happy environment for yourself, now go out and do it!