“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Whether you are a college student, young professional, or a parent of several rowdy kids, many people have a habit of never taking time for themselves. While loving others is crucial, it is also important to find time for practicing self love. For those who are hesitant to take any time for themselves, to those who are already on their journey to radical self-love, here are a few methods for practicing self-love.
The Importance of Practicing Self Love
Self-love refers to regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. If you have a habit of putting others first and leaving your own best interest on the backburner, you are not alone. Taking some time for loving oneself and practicing self love, however, is scientifically proven to have a number of health benefits and positive effects on your overall well-being. Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D, science director of the Stanford Center For Compassion and Altruism Research and Education cites the following as benefits of practicing self love:
- Higher productivity, because those who practice self love are motivated by self-compassion and are more likely to push themselves harder and learn from failure rather than giving up.
- Better performance results, because those who practice self-compassion tend to be level-headed, open-minded, and have a positive attitude in a number of circumstances.
- Decreased stress, because practicing self-love releases the oxytocin hormone in your body, which fosters love and trust and decreases cortisol which is highly correlated with stress.
1. Focus On The Positive
“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive thinking can significantly improve your full body health and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease according to a recent study by The American Journal of Epidemiology. Finding big and small ways to focus on positive aspects of your life is a great way means of loving oneself. Try some of the following strategies to shift your thinking to focus on the positive:
- Surround yourself with positive people because people tend to emulate those around them. By eliminating negative influences in your life you can create more space for positive energy and growth.
- Eliminate words like “I can’t” from your inner dialogue. Instead, experts recommend shifting to positive or even neutral language in your mind because your inward dialogue can have a huge impact on your outward actions.
- Take a few minutes out of each day to reflect on the positive things in your life, because it can help get your thinking in a positive mindset and bring things that make you happy to the top of your mind. For specific guidance in this exercise, try the 52 Lists Project.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
In the age where many people choose to broadcast their success over social media, avoiding self-comparison can be a challenge. However, finding ways to stop comparing yourself to others can be a huge step on your journey to radical self love. Some simple steps you can take to stop comparing yourself to others include:
- Catch yourself in comparison. When you find yourself making comparisons, acknowledge this behavior. Being aware of the behavior is an easy first step towards stopping it!
- Take a social media detox. Studies show avid social media users are prone to comparison and can have a big impact on your self-esteem. Signing off for a while can help you break the social comparison cycle.
- Celebrate your own accomplishments. Whether you received a big promotion or simply finally finish everything on your to-do list, rewarding yourself for a job well done can help you shift your paradigm away from others and instead start practicing self love.
3. Take A Day Off and Plan An Adventure
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”- Jean Shinoda Bolen
More than half of Americans end the year with unused vacation days. While most people are very busy in their day to day lives, using the occasional well-earned day off is a great way to love yourself first. Whether you use your time off to explore the great outdoors, check off places on your yoga bucket list, or take a staycation in the comfort of your own home, making personal time a priority is an easy step towards loving oneself. To make the most of your you time on a day off, try the following:
- Unplug. Avoid checking your work email if at all possible, and if you do check it, only do it once. This can help take work, school, or other stressors off your mind and help you mentally reset.
- Start small. You do not need to take off huge pieces of time in order to enjoy some time to yourself. Try taking off just one day, or even a half day.
- Let yourself get lost in something you truly enjoy. Once you have committed to some you time, make the most of it. Whether that means exploring the great outdoors, taking some time for meditation, or clearing your mind with a little extra Netflix, let yourself get lost in the things you enjoy during your time off.
To further your journey to radical self-love, check out these inspirational self-love quotes from some popular yogis.