By Winnie Ong Hui Dhing
How many of us treat ourselves with the same degree of love and compassion that we show our best friends?
Taking a leaf out of the Buddhist school of thought, true compassion and loving kindness is universal and it should be extended not just to others but also to ourselves.
Turning compassion inwards
Instead of ruminating and beating yourself up when things do not go well, be kind to yourself in the way you would be kind to a dear friend during hard times. Not subjecting yourself to harsh self-criticism may help you become more open to addressing your mistakes and it may inspire you to change the parts of your life that you’re not happy with.
Mindfulness involves taking a step back in the moment to be objectively aware of all aspects of your life, neither dismissing negative events nor blowing them out of proportion.
Accept your feelings as they are. It’s also easy to believe that we suffer or make mistakes in isolation, which isn’t true. Keep in mind that everyone goes through similar trials and tribulations. It’s all part of being human.
How to ‘be there’ for yourself
Having healthy relationships is one of the most important ways of affirming that you love and value yourself. Good relationships work to reinforce feelings of self-worth. Make a conscious decision to spend quality time with people in your social support network and take time to be there for them as well.
Being spiritual is not restricted to religious faith. You can have a purpose or mission in life or believe in a higher power and subsequently explore it through intellectual pursuits, creativity, philanthropic acts or human relationships. Spirituality has a protective effect on mental health.
A balanced lifestyle, which emphasises the right nutrition and an appropriate amount of physical activity, goes a long way to improve well-being and quality of life as well. It will also serve as an effective shield against all kinds of diseases.
People experiencing burnout will feel cynical, helpless and emotionally exhausted as they face each, new day. Recognise the warning signs of impending burnout and more importantly, find ways to recharge your passion for life. A good place to start is by doing the things you love — whether it’s joining a Zumba class at your gym, finger painting with your kids or dancing around your living room when a favourite song plays on the radio.
The state of mental and emotional health has direct physiological consequences on physical health. Depression is increasingly contributing to global disease and is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Tap into your talents
Do you secretly believe you’re good at something but never took the steps to explore your potential? Give yourself the opportunity to act from intrinsic motivation. Doing something you love could just make your day, week or year and it will definitely give you a break from the daily grind.
Learn how to say no
Write down your personal values to gain clarity and learn to say no to requests that don’t align with what you believe in. This will help you live a life of meaning and will prevent you from overstretching yourself.
Ask the all-important question
Always stop to ask yourself this question: If today is the start of the rest of my life, what do I want it to be like? Would I do anything differently?
Easy ways to love yourself
- Broaden your mind by becoming a lifelong learner. Check out www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses or www.coursera.org for interesting courses on just about every topic.
- Get yourself a special reward after completing a challenging task or project.
- Set aside ‘me-time’ every week to wind down in your own way. Take up a hobby or an interest that brings you pleasure.
- Keep promises to yourself and make sure you do things you enjoy every single day.