“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
In today’s achievement-centred society, it’s easy to be so focused on success and self-improvement that we can forget to acknowledge the value of what we’ve accomplished to date, or who we are at a much simpler level. There’s a lot of truth to the saying that we are our own harshest critics, and while striving to better ourselves can be beneficial, it’s also important to consistently practice self-love for who you are right now.
Mindfulness and thoughtfulness are essential elements of learning how to love and be loved. Mindfulness is the practice of being present-centred—focusing on the moment with openness and acceptance. To be mindful, one should acknowledge the present and one’s feelings towards it without judgement. To be thoughtful is to reflect and contemplate, considering one’s own reactions and feelings as well as those of others. Making an effort to incorporate these practices into your life can give you deeper insight into yourself and allow you to make positive lifestyle changes.
Try these quick and easy three tips to incorporate mindfulness and thoughtfulness in to your everyday routine:
TAKE A SHOWER
A morning shower can be done almost completely in auto-pilot. Headspace recommends taking a moment in the shower to deliberately notice the feeling of pleasure you get when the warm water washes over you, and enjoy the smell of your favourite bodywash or soap.
PAY ATTENTION ON YOUR COMMUTE
If you drive to work you should be paying attention anyway, but you may even limit that to noticing the things that are essential for safety; you pay attention to your speed for instance, but is it also a beautiful day outside? Wind down the windows and feel the breeze, or a nip of cold air on your skin. If you take the bus or train, make it a priority to really look at your surroundings as they pass by rather than just staring in to space. You’ll notice details that may have passed you by everyday for years.
GET OUT THE PHOTO ALBUMS
The University at Buffalo explains that emotionally stimulating activities like arranging an old photo album makes for happier and more productive individuals. In the case of elderly individuals, recalling and reflecting on past events can help with memory or sensory problems and promote emotional wellbeing.