When we think of love, we often think of fiery romances and passion, but that's not love. Love is genuinely knowing someone and accepting them despite their flaws. Love is treating your partner with respect and dignity. Love is mutually supporting one another's goals.
Well, love doesn't stop with your partner. Those same behaviors that come with loving another are imperative when it comes to loving yourself. I want to help you with this sometimes difficult path to self-love. When you love yourself, the world is a brand new place. You start each day in a better place. You start treating yourself better. Every aspect of your life will improve.
The first step to loving yourself is simply being kind to yourself. I know you're thinking it's easier said than done, but it's true. You wouldn't make friends with someone who was always saying awful things about you, would you?
Then why do you allow it from yourself?
Be Nice To Yourself
As children, we chanted it. "Sticks and stones will break my bones. But words will never hurt me." We were wrong. Words can be damaging. They can decimate relationships and destroy self-confidence. They can bully, and they can demean. However, if used correctly, words can also inspire, uplift, and encourage. While it is important we say the right words to those we care about; it is even more vital that we choose the right words we are saying to ourselves. These words become our truths. They impact how we see ourselves and, in turn, how we project ourselves out into the world.
If you've ever thought negative thoughts about yourself, if you've ever run yourself down over mistakes you've made, if you've ever just been outright mean to yourself, let's take the first steps to change that today. It doesn't come easily, nor does it always come naturally, but if you are willing to do the work, you will see amazing results in all facets of your life.
If you've looked into self-help, I'm sure you've come across words of affirmation. Even if they sounded cheesy, don't brush them off just yet. Studies have shown these positive declarations open people up to a higher possibility of behavioral change. They also decrease stress and increase overall well being.
For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be positive, and it needs to be current. It is crucial not to choose a statement such as "I am not a bad person." Your mind always hones in on the negatives. You will be repeating "bad person," and it will stick. Instead, choose "I am a good person!" Note how I kept it current. Choosing "I will be a good person" will only reiterate to yourself that you are not there yet! But you are! Own your words and rewire that brain!
For the most powerful results, it is best to focus on one affirmation at a time and truly commit to it. You are just starting out, and there is no need to overwhelm yourself just yet. Use the words as your new mantra. Speak the words to yourself as you get ready in the morning, on your commute, or when you need a pick me up.
Do you feel silly talking to yourself? Not all affirmations need to be spoken aloud. Some people work better with the written word. That's an entirely acceptable approach to this exercise. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down your affirmations. It doesn't matter how you're getting them out of your head and into the world; it only matters that you are getting them out there.
Our brains are designed with the ability to change. When you use your positive statements, you begin that rewiring process. You will start to alter your passive thoughts away from the negatives, and you will be amazed at how your outlook starts to change.
This path to self-love will completely alter your life. You will begin to see things in a different light, starting with yourself. Your health will start to improve. When you love yourself, you care about your body. You want it to keep going to support you through all stages of your life. I just know you'll start feeling better from the inside out.
Relationships with others only become better when the relationship with yourself grows. No longer are you riddled with self-doubt and low self-esteem. Instead, you are confident and ready to make that new friend. You are more willing to put yourself out into the world when you love the skin that you are in.
And, when you put yourself out into the world, there are opportunities aplenty. Your motivation will begin running high, and the drive to succeed is immense. There is nothing you can't do! With all of this confidence, you are sure to take on that next promotion at work with ease. Or perhaps make that leap to starting your own business. Whatever you want, it's suddenly in the cards for you.
Maybe the most satisfying part of self-love is the freedom you will feel. When you genuinely love yourself, the expectations others hold for you are irrelevant. You already know who you are and what you want. The immense feeling of just being yourself is incredibility freeing. You are free to get out there and take on the world.
What's the first thing you're going to tackle? You are capable of all of it.
Did you know that a regular stream of negative thinking can actually change your brain and increase the likelihood of developing mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and can even hurt your memory? This is because when you always see the downside to situations, your brain becomes sapped with negative chemicals, such as monoamine oxidase A and cortisol, that leads to lower brain function abilities and/or activating the fight or flight responses.
With this reality, it only stands to reason that, alternatively, thinking positively can alter your life for the better and allow you to function at peak capacity. You are in control of our own happiness, and because of that reason, you should fight to make sure you are able to reach the highest levels of self-satisfaction that you possibly can. The best way to start that process is by training your brain to think more positively.
The Link Between Positive Thinking and Happiness
It is no secret that happier people tend to be more positive. But the real question is why that is the case. The reason behind this is because our thoughts are the pinnacle of our character. It is how we operate within the world and, in a sense, what we think is what we become. Our inner thoughts will reflect on our decisions and help guide us in the way we think about them.
When you practice seeing the positive side of life, your brain releases chemicals, such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, which are the four primary chemicals that affect your happiness. These "feel good" chemicals help you become optimistic and think happy thoughts. You will become more focused and ultimately grow as a person because you will have the confidence to tap into your true potential.
Training Your Brain to Be Positive
If you are ready to lead a happy, rich, and fulfilled life, then you are already halfway there by deciding to become a better person to yourself. But that is only part of the battle. Because altering your mind and forming new, healthy habits is challenging, here are some helpful ways you can train your brain to be positive so you can reach your goals.
It is clear that thinking in a more positive way will create positive results within your life, especially when it involves your overall happiness. A positive mindset and happiness go hand in hand and together can unlock a much better quality of life. The building of positive thinking will become a catalyst for you to redirect your emotions and thoughts in all areas of your life that contribute to your well being. It may not be an easy route to take to alter your mindset, but with a bit of practice and allowing yourself to see the good in life, you are inevitably giving yourself the best probability to obtain the optimal happiness that you deserve.
The power of positive thinking is something quite remarkable. The act of practicing and illuminating positivity can bring so much happiness to both you and the people around you, which is certainly something to be admired. Because happiness is a choice, when you proactively choose to be happy and see the positive side of things, you are actually training your brain to release endorphins, which are those feel-good hormones. If this concept is new to you, then it can be challenging at first to get rid of those pesky negative thoughts that have resided in your head for so long. However, it is never too late to commit to yourself and change your life for the better to become happier and healthier.
Get Rid of the Negativity
Being negative has detrimental effects on your body, both mentally and physically. In fact, research has shown that chronic negative emotions trigger your brain to perform specific actions, such as not partaking in activities you enjoy, which can hinder your true potential. This way of thinking narrows your focus and thoughts and leaves you dwelling on them rather than trying to find alternative solutions to solve it. By knowing this, it is clear that negativity is bad for your overall wellbeing, and also extremely difficult to break out of.
If you have decided that you want to have a happier life, then you have already won half the battle by understanding that you have the ultimate say in how you can live. When you have a mission to become happy and more positive, then negativity should have no place in your mind anymore. Filter out those toxic traits and replace them with healthier ways of thinking that can lead to a more optimistic outlook.
How Positivity Makes You Happier
Studies have shown that when people are actively practicing positive thinking methods, they elude a more upbeat attitude. When you develop positive thought habits, you will be effectively allowing your brain to operate at an optimal level with free-flowing endorphins that will make you feel light and at peace with yourself. This will sway away any negative thoughts, self-doubts, and self-limiting beliefs that could stunt your happiness journey. In the end, you will feel much more confident and have ample amounts of motivation to experience new things and step out of your comfort zone to reach your full potential.
Training Your Mind to Be Positive
It is certainly easy to be happy and cheerful when everything is going according to plan. However, the real test lies when you are faced with unexpected setbacks and difficulties. In order to ensure that you can confront these situations in the most optimistic way as possible, then you must train your mind to think that way continuously.
With life being so fleeting, everyone should strive to be as happy as they can be. Your mind is the key to your own happiness, and it starts by making the conscious decision to become more positive and practice positive thinking habits. Take control of your thoughts and really focus on things that make you happy and silence the negative voices when they try to creep into your mind. With diligence and working on improving your outlook on life, it will manifest into you obtaining an overall positive attitude, which will lead you to a much more fulfilled and happy life.
You have most likely heard the saying of how happy people tend to smile more. Even though this seems like an obvious statement, there have been numerous studies conducted proving that there are true scientific reasoning's supporting this claim. With the backing of science, we are able to safely say that even though smiling is such a simple act, it contains tremendous benefits to overall well-being and happiness.
You may be wondering how it is even possible that smiling can lead to happier lives. It seems a bit backwards, since the majority of the time people smile because they are happy, not the other way around. Let’s take a closer look on how this form of expression holds the secret to becoming happier.
How Smiling Effects Your Brain
Believe it or not, smiling can actually trick your brain into becoming happy. The very act of smiling makes your brain think that there is something positive going on or something funny is happening. The reason for this is that when you smile, you release certain hormones such as dopamine and serotonin which create an extremely powerful chemical reaction in your brain that results in you feeling cheerier. Dopamine is what increases our feelings of happiness and serotonin is directly linked with stress reduction. Your brain does not care whether you are fake smiling or if it is genuine; it will still release those feel-good chemicals.
Tips on How to Smile More
You do not need any tips or practice on how to smile when something naturally funny or enjoyable happens to you. This section is dedicated in guiding you on how to remember to smile for those boring and mundane situations when you typically would not be smiling.
Time to Smile!
I know how hard it can be to be smiling and cheery all the time, especially if it is forced. However, by proactively making it a priority in your life, you will find that your entire well-being will benefit from it. The very act of smiling alone can lift your mood, lower your stress levels and even boost your immune system. No matter what you are doing during your busy days, try to smile more in order to become a happier person. It really is that simple.
It is no secret that energy is everywhere, both positive and negative. It influences our daily lives from who we are associated with to what we read, watch and listen to. In a perfect world, everyone would be happy, but that is sadly not the typical case in today’s stressful society. Some people may feel trapped with their negative thoughts, like this is the only way they know how to think and react to situations. But that is far from the truth. Anyone can walk away from negatively with a bit of desire, willpower and determination. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to achieve it.
Negative thinking is not just being a Debbie Downer. It can actually harm you in more than one way. This way of thinking is very unhealthy both mentally and physically. For example, reoccurring unhappiness and the feeling of hopelessness can lead to chronic stress. Stress is known for causing high blood pressure, immune system issues, hormone imbalances and depleting your brain of chemicals used for feeling happy. Not to mention, chronic stress can actually lower a person’s lifespan.
In addition to the personal bad side effects, negativity can actually harm other people. Ways of thinking and outlooks on life are highly contagious amongst the people you hang around with. If you are the negative person in the group, it could rub off onto others and vice versa. These facts alone should motivate you to want to walk away from negativity. If you are a negative person who wants to change for the better, here are some ways to lead a more positive life and gain the benefits of walking away from that toxic mindset.
Stay Away from Negative Influences
You cannot thrive and change if your environment is holding you back. The people you associate with and the environment you are in can drastically influence your overall perceptions of the world. It can be easy to fall into a negative space, especially if everything around you is wired that way. As mentioned before, negative and positive outlooks on life have been considered contagious emotions. It is very easy to adapt to the people you hang out with and the environment you live in. The more negatively you are around, the more likely it will be that you will be pessimistic. This is why in order to get rid of negativity in your life, cleaning up your surroundings and getting rid of toxic things (like music, movies or books) and people who will bring you down is essential to becoming a more positive person overall.
Practicing gratitude is a key ingredient for combating negativity. Being able to acknowledge and appreciate the good aspects of life is extremely powerful for overall emotional wellbeing. Sometimes the negative thoughts can take over, making it hard to see any good in your life. But if you can find the bad, you can surely find the good as well. For every negative thought you think, actively search for three positive things in your life. You can rehearse this in your mind, but it may be more helpful to write it down on paper so you can have a visual representation to review. This practice helps people become much more thankful, motivated and happier with life.
One of the traits that negative people have is holding onto grudges. They hold onto something and do not let it go, which feeds their negative mindset. Grudges do nothing but cause stress and unnecessary negativity. If someone did something to you that upsets you, the best thing to do is forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean you agree with their actions or want to be best friends again. It simply means that you forgive them because it lifts that anger and/or sadness from you and allows you to move on with your life. Forgiveness has also been linked to lowered blood sugar and improved immune functions. Being able to accept situations and circumstances for what they are and move on instead of dwell is a great step in walking away from negativity and live a healthier life.
Laugh and Smile More
Laughing and smiling have been considered the best medicine. Doing this tends to lighten the mood during hard situations. When you smile and laugh, especially at yourself, is can cause physiological changes which help improve your mood and increase positive energy. This is a way of taking live a little less seriously and realizing that you are only human and mistakes happen. Life can be stressful and hectic, but laughing it off and making sure to actively smile through it all combats the negative emotions that could arise.
Picture Yourself Walking Away
This is where your imagination comes into play. It may sound silly, but actually picturing yourself walking away from your old self and ways of thinking is very effective and enlightening. Visualizing yourself leaving all that negativity behind and move forward can be very helpful for personal growth. Sometimes people do this during meditation or during personal therapy sessions. But feel free to do this at your own time in your own comfortable space. Just make sure that there are no distractions so you can absorb the full experience and feel completely refreshed when you are done. This technique may not be for everyone, but it is a great way to feel more powerful and in control of your emotions.
Anyone can be positive, just like anyone can be negative. Both take the same amount of energy, so why not choose the option that is the most beneficial for you and others around you? If you are so ingrained to a negative way of thinking, there is still hope for change. It may not happen overnight. It will take time to train your brain to become more positive and leave negatively behind. Remember, bad things in life will happen. It is how you decide to face and tackle them that matter the most.
I'm starting to do more video blogging so in this video I talk about positive thinking.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone dies from taking their own life every 40 seconds globally -- which is 1.6 percent of all deaths worldwide. The WHO also believes that for every person who dies through suicide, a further 20 attempt it. Although there are many reasons people commit suicide, in the vast majority of cases, the individual was suffering from an untreated psychiatric disorder. Here are the primary risk factors to look out for.
Previous suicide attempt
Overall, people who have previously attempted suicide are 38.4 times more likely to commit suicide than people who have never attempted suicide. One study suggested that as many as 80 percent of people who attempt suicide will do so again within a year. However, the risk can be higher or lower depending on the potential lethality of the previous attempt, and how many previous attempts there have been.
People with eating disorders oftentimes have suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. Eating disorders are characterized by distorted thinking, and striving for an unattainable ideal. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness -- two things that are common among people who attempt suicide. There are differences between eating disorders, too -- people with anorexia tend to have more planned suicide attempts, while people with bulimia tend to make more impulsive suicide attempts.
Suicide occurs 20.4 times more commonly in people who suffer from depression than in people who don’t. In most cases, suicides are triggered by a flood of difficult, painful emotions from which people see no escape. Some compare the experience to that of people who jump from burning buildings -- in both cases the fear of falling, pain, and death is real -- but the jumpers anticipate more pain on one side of the window than the other. There is an escape from depression, however, and most people see improvements within weeks of starting their treatment.
Substance Abuse Disorder
People with drug abuse disorders are 19.2 times more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t -- although with alcohol abuse it’s a little lower at 6 times more likely. As with depression (the two often go hand-in-hand), substance abuse impairs rational thinking and stops people from seeing and seeking solutions to their problems. These solutions exist, however, and substance abuse can be effectively managed through methods such as therapy and inpatient treatment centers. Many insurance plans cover counseling, and some may cover inpatient treatment as well. Seniors who have a Medicare Advantage plan from companies like United Healthcare may also have access to counseling for alcohol-related issues.
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t. With bipolar disorder, people experience periods of both depression and elevated mood, and a key risk factor is when the two states occur at the same time. Like depression, bipolar disorder can cause heart-wrenching emotional pain, and can stop people from thinking clearly. But if this occurs at the same time as a manic state, this gives people the energy to do something about it, which might lead to a suicide attempt.
However, treatment for bipolar disorder is effective, particularly in terms of reducing suicide attempts. Lithium, a drug rarely given for major depression disorder, can dramatically reduce suicide attempts and completions in people with bipolar disorder, as can certain stress-reduction therapies.
As you can see, the risk of suicide is much higher in people who have other mental issues -- often, people possess several risk factors. Although these problems have known treatments with good success rates, as many as 80 percent of people who attempted suicide were not being treated for their additional mental disorder. If you yourself have had thoughts about suicide, call a suicide hotline or speak to your doctor about it -- there are people out there who can help and who want to listen to you.
Do you want to change your life but don’t know how to start? I will be talking about four simple steps you can do today to change your life. Changing your life will not be as hard as you are thinking. Changing your life will be fun and easy.
Step one, get clear about what you want your life to be. If you don’t like your job, get clear on what type of job you want. For me, I wanted to help people, so I have my life coaching business. When I was starting out, and even to this day, I would say, “Yes, I am a successful life coach.” This is a wonderful affirmation because I was living as if I was a great life coach. At the time, I had just started and did not even have a client, but I kept saying the affirmation, and I knew it would be true for me. It doesn't matter what type of job you want; just get clear about it and make an affirmation about it. If I wanted to become a teacher, I would say, “Yes, I am a great teacher, and I love what I do.”
Step two, now that you have gotten clear on what you want your life to become, start telling people. For example, when someone asked me what I do for a living, I would tell them, “I’m a life coach.” Not only does it make you feel good because you are going after your goals, but it will let people know what you’re doing.
Step three is very easy. You have no doubts that you will do it. Sometimes, when people come to me and say, “Well, I’ve been doing the affirmation, but nothing has happened,” I remind them that it’s a process, and it takes time, but you can’t give up. You must not give up, and you must keep moving forward. Our example above about becoming a teacher is a process. You have to have your degree, and then you must get your teaching credential. So, the whole time you are saying the affirmation, “Yes, I am a great teacher, and I love what I do,” you are going to school to make this a reality.
Step four is have faith in yourself that you will do it. This is a little different than not having doubts. You must totally believe you will become the thing you want to become. I know, when I was going to school, I did not do well in math, so I had a teacher tell me I should give up. He knew I was having problems, and he thought, in his own way, he was helping me by telling me to give up. I did not give up. I got a few tutors, and I finished the class, and I ended up with my degree.
I had faith, and I had no doubts whatsoever that I would finish school. I was working full time and going to school part time. It took me a long time, but I ended up with my degree, and that’s all that matters. The main point is I had faith, and I understood deep down that I could do it, even when people around me said I should not do it because it was hard or because I did not understand a math class I was in.
You can do and be anything if you just think you can. The problem is so many people are focused on what they don’t really want. If you really want to change your life, focus on what you really want and never have doubts that you will get it. Keep moving forward and don’t look back.
Image via Unsplash
Guest post by Dana Brown
Living on a tight budget shouldn’t mean you can’t afford to treat yourself. Self-care is an important part of maintaining your physical and mental health, and sometimes you need an extra push to accomplish your self-care goals. If you want help reaching your wellness goals this year but don’t have a lot to spend, try one of these budget-friendly self-care gifts.
Many of us keep journals when we’re young, but we tend to stop as we grow up and adult responsibilities take center stage. However, journaling has big benefits for adults too: Writing helps you process emotions, reflect on experiences, and set and pursue goals. In fact, the stress-busting benefits of journaling are so great that it even improves immunity and overall health. A nice journal is a great motivation to write — check out Barnes & Noble’s selection of journals to find one that fits your style and your budget.
Are you constantly waking up because you’re too hot, too cold, or your blankets have become a tangled mess? Sleep disruptions affect your entire well-being, from your energy to your moods, so it’s important to take even minor bedroom discomforts seriously. A plush comforter, soft sheets, or a weighted blanket could be just what you need to take your sleep to the next level. And you don’t have to spend hundreds on this self-care gift: Kohl’s is full of great deals on new bedding, and when you use Kohl’s promo codes to shop, you can score cash back.
A White Noise Machine
If it’s noise, not uncomfortable bedding, that keeps you up, try adding a white noise machine to the bedroom. White noise masks background sounds that interrupt your sleep, and unlike a TV or radio, white noise doesn’t stimulate your mind to keep you awake.
A Meditation App
Regular meditation reduces stress and anxiety, improves moods and focus, and decreases pain and inflammation in the body. Those are big claims for such a simple practice, but research backs them up. For most people, the biggest hurdle to meditation is getting started, but meditation apps can help. Headspace is the most highly recommended meditation app. Try it out for free; if you like it, you can subscribe for as little as $7.99 a month.
Did you love art as a kid but rarely pick up a sketchpad as an adult? Art has therapeutic value no matter your age. Even if you’re not artistically talented, putting pen or paintbrush to paper relieves stress, builds self-esteem, and promotes creative thinking. Drawing and painting are the most budget-friendly ways to create art, but you can also get into sculpting, jewelry-making, dancing, creating music, or another art form. Secondhand stores are a great source of supplies, or you can look for deals at stores like Michael’s.
An Electric Toothbrush
Self-care isn’t just for mental health. Good self-care also means tending to your physical health needs like oral hygiene. If you’re still brushing with a manual toothbrush, do your mouth a favor and switch to electric. Electric toothbrushes make it easier to reach every part of your mouth and encourage you to brush for the full two minutes that dentists recommend. Visit Philips’ website for discounts and price comparisons for the leading Sonicare toothbrushes.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself as long as it fits your budget. However, be careful not to spend money you don’t have on self-care gifts! A gift to yourself is a great pick-me-up, but the financial stress of going over budget outweighs any self-care benefits. When you balance your need for self-care with your finances, your health and your wallet benefit.
I'm a life coach in California. Contact me if you have any questions.