Loving yourself and your body improves your health, research shows. But how do you go from being hard on yourself to kind and loving?
Scientists from Exeter and Oxford University divided participants into two several groups. Two groups heard positive affirmations, the other two groups heard a voice that was very critical towards them. After the session, the first two groups turned out to have more empathy towards themselves and others than the other two groups. They also perspirated less, and had a lower heartbeat.
The research shows clearly: there’s all the reason in the world to be kind to yourself. These tricks make it easier to do so.
1 Be your own best friend
You probably want the best for your friends. When someone you love is grieving, or makes a big mistake, you don’t judge them: you’re there for them. So why would you judge yourself, instead of giving yourself the support you need?
In a difficult situation, try to think about things you would say to a good friend in the same situation. Which loving, comforting words would you use? They are probably the words you would want to hear yourself, but instead, you’re tough on yourself. Being your own friend doesn’t happen overnight, but it will make you a warmer, more cheerful, healthier person.
2 Listen to your inner critic
If you’re living a busy life, you probably tend to switch to autopilot a lot. This makes us less conscious of our negative thoughts. If you listen to the voice in your head, and you’re aware of the daily monologue, you’ll find out soon enough whether it’s mostly positive or negative.
During a regular day, write down most of the thoughts that come up in your head. Be alert when it comes to words like ‘should’ or ‘could’. They often contain judgment, and they’re nota bout self-love. Once you get a better notion of your inner voice on paper, you’ll know more about the way you address yourself. Not just in stressful or difficult times, but also in happy times. Is there a difference? Or do you always tend to be hard on yourself? This insight is valuable, because the next time you’re about to meet a challenge, you can choose the words and their meaning. Always ask yourself: what am I telling myself now, and does it work for me? Is it helpful? If the answer is ‘no’, try to switch to positive affirmations. They will make you stronger, both mentally and physically.