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21 Ways to Practice Self-Love

“Self-love is not simply a state of feeling good,” states Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. for Psychology Today. “It is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth.”

“Self-love is dynamic; it grows through actions that mature us,” adds Dr. Khoshaba. “When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our shortcomings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

We think that that is an excellent explanation of what self-love is. But, how can you practice it consistently? Well, here are 21 ways for you to get started so that this will become a daily habit.

1. Start your day on a positive note.

How your day begins sets the tone for the rest of your day. But, how can you ensure that you’ll avoid waking up on the wrong side of the bed? That differs from person-to-person. But, here are tactics that you can try:

  • Don’t hit snooze when your alarm goes off.

  • Engage in any type of physical activity.

  • Read or journal.

  • Set daily goals.

  • Meditate or pray.

  • Have breakfast with your family.

  • Embrace positivity, like how good you look this morning or watching a funny YouTube video.

2. Make your health a priority.

As opposed to neglecting your health, make it a priority by:

  • Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet -- you can shake things up by trying new, healthy recipes.

  • Again, engage in any type of physical activity whether it’s going to the gym, doing yoga at home, or going for a daily walk.

  • Get enough sleep by following a consistent sleep-wake schedule.

  • Don’t overindulge in things like sweets, caffeine, or alcohol.

  • Schedule appointments with your physician, dentist, and mental health professional.

3. Clean and organize your home and workspace.

Too much clutter can make cause anxiety and make it difficult to focus. Additionally, studies have found that those with clean homes are healthier.

4. Enjoy a hobby.

Spend time doing whatever it is you enjoy. That could be gardening, repairing a car, hiking, baking, or painting.

5. Make a "What's Working for Me" list.

“Truly loving yourself comes from self-acceptance,” says certified life coach and founder of Chronicon Nitika Chopra. “And one helpful step toward getting to that point of self-acceptance is recognizing what you already have that's great by writing a ‘What's Working for Me’ list.”

“Once you see it on paper and accept all of the positivity in your life, it will make it that much easier to love yourself,” Chopra adds.

6. Remove toxicity from your life.

Stop spending time with people who lie, manipulate, or bring-you-down. Instead, surround yourself with those who are supportive and positive.

7. Cross something off your to-do-list.

No matter how big or small it is, crossing things off your to-do-list or completing a goal releases dopamine, aka “the happy hormone.”

8. Keep on daydreaming.

You’re never too old to stop daydreaming. In fact, it’s good for you. Daydreaming has been found to boost intelligence, heighten the ability to perform complex mental tasks, make you more creative, and reduce stress.

9. Celebrate the small wins.

Pay yourself on the back. For example, if you met your workout goal for the week, tell your family and treat yourself to a small treat like a latte.

10. Learn to say “no.”

Working at full capacity? Don’t take on new work responsibilities. You already have a social commitment this weekend? Politely recline an invite to a birthday party. And, give yourself permission to not respond to emails when you’re spending time with your family.

11. Stop the comparisons.

Get off social media and stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Spend this time doing the things that make you a unique and wonderful individual.

12. Buy something you’ve always wanted.

As long as you have the money, go ahead and buy yourself some flowers, wardrobe, or anything that sparks joy.

13. Get dressed up.

There’s a link between clothing and mental health. So, the next time you need a mood booster, put on your favorite outfit. And, while you’re at it, get a haircut or put on makeup so that you look your best.

14. Take a nap.

If you have the opportunity, there’s nothing wrong with catching a catnip -- preferably 15-30 minutes.

15. Give yourself a massage.

You don’t have to visit the spa in order to get a massage. In fact, you can give yourself a back, neck, shoulder, or foot rub without leaving home. Just dim the lights, burn your favorite essential oils, and work out those knots. Well and Good has some pointers to get started.

16. Follow your passion.

It may be frightening, but try to pursue whatever gets you excited -- even if it’s just for a couple of hours each week.

17. Build an affirmation practice.

Affirmations can help build your self-confidence by shifting your mindset from failure to putting your strengths to work. The key is that they should be set in the present, realistic, and tailored to your goals.

18. Repeat the following mantras.

While similar, mantras differ from affirmations in how they’re used. Affirmations are specific statements that you can use to overcome negative thoughts. Mantas, on the other hand, are phrases that are more scared. They’re a key component of meditation and can be used to help you focus on the present and alleviate stress.

Kara Cronin, the Community Lead at Shine, has put together a list of self-love mantras to help your shake self-doubt, such as;

  • You are doing as best as you can.

  • You’re strong and worthy—keep striving.

  • You are strong. You are fearless. You are beautiful. You will heal. You will get through this.

  • Today I will show myself some loving kindness.

  • Change takes time, which involves patience. You can’t rush everything.

19. Make time for gratitude.

As opposed to focusing on what you don’t have, spend a couple of minutes practicing gratitude daily by thinking or writing about what you do have.

20. Find your happy place.

“Everyone should have a place where you can go to feel safe and happy,” says Nancy Mramor, Ph.D., a Pittsburgh psychologist who leads workshops on achieving happiness. “It may be a place you can physically visit or, at times, even just imagine, but it must be a respite that recharges you.”

21. Learn how to forgive yourself.

Don’t obsess over past mistakes or regrets. Learn and grow from them.

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