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11 Acts of Self-Kindness Daily Practices for a Happier Life
Posted: 3/28/2013 | Happiness Comments
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The more you extend kindness to yourself, the more it will become your natural response to others. –Wayne Dyer
 
We’ve all learned it’s important to be kind to others, but we are not often encouraged to nurture ourselves. While extending compassion to the world around us is an important part of our growth and well-being, remember to extend compassion to yourself as a beautiful work in progress. For women especially, taking care of others is prioritized above ourselves, but like the oxygen mask on the airplane, we must first take care of ourselves before we can effectively help those around us. Here are 11 simple practices we can implement in our daily lives to be kind to ourselves.
 
1. Take care of your body. Of course you know all the things you “should” be doing for your body, but even a small action begins to change your relationship with your physical self. Exercising and eating well can begin with a brisk walk or a healthful meal. Cooking for yourself (and not just your family) is an excellent way to nurture yourself. Get a massage or learn self-massage techniques. If you’ve been putting it off, make that appointment for a check up with your doctor or dentist.
 
2. De-Stress. Meditate, go for a walk, or do yoga. Take one action each day that will help you relax and let go of tension.
 
3. Go easy on yourself. We all tend to be critical of ourselves for what we don’t do well, from eating the “wrong” things, to not handling a conflict perfectly. Practice letting go of imperfect moments, and allow yourself to embrace the motto, “Progress, not perfection.” Give yourself the space to learn from your mistakes and grow.
 
4. Take one, small step toward your dreams. Whether it’s learning to dance like a pro, develop your photography skills or build your own business, take a step every day that contributes to your dreams. Sign up for a class, write a page of your novel, or take a stroll through the neighborhood you want to live in. No matter how big or small, taking simple actions let you know your dreams are important, as are you. Remember, big projects are accomplished one small step at a time. I had an experience of that writing my book, “Your Ultimate Life Plan.” Over the course of several months, my efforts to write a few pages every day turned into a 288 page book. 
 
5. Create a daily ritual just for you. Drink your morning coffee from your favorite mug while reading the paper, or herbal tea in your favorite chair while looking out the window. Work on a puzzle with your kids, or walk your dog in the morning. Whatever it is that feeds you, practice it at the same time every day. Rituals are a way of reminding ourselves that our needs are important, and they’re a good way of being in the moment and expressing appreciation.
 
6. Connect with nature. You can connect with nature in a myriad of ways, from admiring a sunset, watering houseplants, hiking the Andes, or simply noticing passing clouds in the sky. Our connection with the earth expands our connection with our spirit.
 
7. Ask for help when you need it (and sometimes when you don’t). You might be accustomed to taking care of the details in life–your family, your job, and all the endless details. Practice asking for assistance with whatever you need, from fixing that dripping faucet, to picking up something from the store, to emotional support when you’re going through a tough time. Asking for help reminds us that we’re not alone, and helps us feel connected with others.
 
8. Let go of resentment. Remember the saying, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” Resentment creates stress, keeps us focused on the negative, and reduces access to joy in our lives. Letting go means to forgive and make space for our own humanness. It helps to meditate, journal, or if it’s a struggle, find a good psychotherapist to help you along.
 
9. Take time to be creative. Do something that gets your creative juices flowing. You can draw a picture, cook a great meal, write a funny email to a friend, or find an interesting way to wrap a gift. We’re all creative, even if we’ve never thought of ourselves as artistic. Getting in touch with our creativity helps us exercise our imagination and allow ideas to flow.

10. Daydream. Take time while waiting in line, commuting, or eating your lunch to daydream. This is the world of imagination and plotting a beautiful future. You’re not only releasing more stress, you’re creating the life you really want to live.

11. Practice gratitude. Cultivate appreciation for something in your life, every day. You can be grateful for things as small as the pillow under your head as you fall asleep, to big things like your connection to God or the sun that rises each day. It’s not so much what you choose to be grateful for, as the experience of gratitude that lightens your load and helps you release negative thoughts and emotions.
 
How have you extended compassion to others, how?
How you extended compassion to yourself?
Please leave a comment. Your thoughts make a difference for all of us.

 




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