Lindsay Holmes, Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post
ATSUSHI YAMADA VIA GETTY IMAGES
This goes out to anyone who is too hard on themselves.
Being a human being is a difficult job. You’re going to make mistakes along the way. However, that doesn’t mean you should constantly berate yourself rather than praise yourself.
Below are some tangible ways to start treating yourself with compassion. Because you, above all else, deserve your own kindness.
1. Do some morning affirmations.
Start your day on a positive note. Recite a few affirmations to yourself as you’re getting ready, repeating them multiple times. Use statements like “I am strong,” or “I am capable.” Repeat the phrase enough and soon you’ll start to believe it.
2. Treat yourself to a day out.
Make a date with yourself and stick with it. Engage in an activity that’s designed to make you feel good, whether it’s playing a sport, going shopping or trying a meditation class. Try planning it in advance for an added bonus: Research shows you’re happier when you’re anticipating an upcoming experience.
3. Give yourself permission to be alone.
Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely; it’s incredibly beneficial to your well-being. Solo time may make you more creative and can help you clear your mind. Experts also say spending time alone may help you be more productive. It’s time to start enjoying your own company.
4. Exercise the word “no.”
It may be a two-letter word, but it holds a lot of weight. There’s something to be said about putting your needs first, whether that means speaking up when you’re feeling burned out, saying no to an event you’re uninterested in or cutting toxic people out of your life. Sometimes the circumstances call for a polite decline — and that’s more than allowed.
5. Try practicing lovingkindness meditation.
This specific form of the practice is focused on cultivating compassion. Research shows it can improve emotional intelligence and decrease your stress response.
“The place to look for the benefit of meditation is in your life, not necessarily in that formal period of practice,” meditation expert Sharon Salzberg previously told HuffPost. “You may not be sitting in bliss when you’re meditating, but you’ll find you’re different in the way you speak to yourself when you’ve made a mistake. You’re more resilient. You’re kinder when you meet a stranger. That’s really why you meditate.”
6. Write down your accomplishments at the end of the day.
Ditch the to-do list for a “done” list. It could be that you finally turned in a work proposal or just the fact that you made some time for the gym. Research shows that taking stock of what you’re grateful for can improve your well-being. When you focus on the good, you don’t have room for the bad.
7. Be kind to someone else.
Pay it forward: Buy someone a coffee, donate to your local charity or just make a loved one dinner. Generosity is cyclical. Studies suggest that expressing kindness toward others makes you happier, and happiness makes you kinder.
8. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend.
You wouldn’t call a loved one a failure, fat or stupid, so extend the same courtesy to yourself. Positive self-talk is powerful. The more you learn to appreciate the person you are — flaws and all — the happier you’ll be. Research shows self-acceptance is key to a happier life, but it’s a habit people rarely practice.
9. Stand in the mirror and give yourself a compliment.
Your brain has a tendency to reflect on the negatives, like that bad hair day or that unsightly breakout. But here’s a newsflash: You are not your reflection.
Show a little kindness to yourself by standing in front of the mirror and not only calling out the positives that you see, but pay yourself a genuine compliment about what you don’t see. Are you a great listener? Are you a loyal friend? Those are the qualities that truly matter.
10. Go to bed on time.
When it comes to living optimally, sleep is the best weapon in your arsenal. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your immune system, make it challenging to regulate your emotions and even mess with your memory. Give yourself the gift of Z’s and you’ll immediately notice a change in almost every facet of your life.
Better well-being all around? There’s no greater — or nicer — gift to yourself than that.
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