Practicing self-love relieves stress and increases positivity.
The modern world moves at a sprint. In just hours, we can travel distances that once would have resulted in a months-long journey. We can speak in real time to people on the other side of the world and receive news alerts almost instantly on our phones. Technology allows us to reach seemingly impossible goals and saves countless lives, but living at a breakneck pace has a few downsides. American stress levels are the highest in a decade—perhaps because it’s easy to get swept up in the current of modern life and world disasters, from work to politics.
Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to lower your stress levels and find more enjoyment in each day. Practicing self-love can completely transform your outlook on life, improving your physical and mental health by helping you become more positive, have more energy, and experience less stress. Here are 5 ways you can practice self-love.
1. Allow yourself to unwind.
Especially when life is busy, it’s important to take time away from your to-do list to decompress and simply unwind. When you can, try to squeeze in at least an hour of free time each day, even if it’s broken up into 15-minute segments. Take the time to focus on relaxing activities you enjoy doing, like watching TV, spending time with friends and family, reading, or soaking in the bathtub. You might find that it’s the perfect chance to start a new hobby or rediscover your passion for a hobby you haven’t had time to enjoy.
Another great idea is to find a charity whose cause you’re passionate about and spend a little time volunteering each week. Even though it’s active, gets you out of the house, and focuses on helping others, volunteering provides plenty of benefits for you, too; it helps to reduce your stress, decrease your risk of depression, give you a sense of purpose, and build up your feelings of self-worth.
2. Enjoy nature.
We’re not sure why, but nature has a significant effect on our mental health, consistently reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. A 2015 study even found a marked difference between people who walked outside in an urban setting and those who chose a more natural one. While it’s tempting to stay indoors on your comfy sofa, going out into nature to walk or simply sit under the trees can help your stress and anxiety melt away. In Japan, they even have a term for it: forest bathing.
3. Improve your self-confidence with cosmetic dentistry.
If there’s something that’s always bothered you about your smile, consider visiting Dr. Sexton for a cosmetic treatment. Improving the appearance of your smile isn’t vain nor does it mean you’re seeking to meet someone else’s standard of beauty; it’s allowing yourself to seek a treatment that will improve your confidence and help you to love yourself more. Whether you simply whiten your teeth or want to resolve issues like crooked or damaged teeth, Dr. Sexton can help you gain a smile that you love.
4. Focus on your health.
It’s never too soon—or too late—to begin focusing on your physical health by eating a healthier diet, drinking more water, and exercising regularly. Sticking to healthy habits will help you live longer and will likely improve your mental health as well. When you exercise, your mood improves because your body releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. Eating healthily, drinking enough water, and exercising will each likely give you more energy as well, helping you get through the day a little easier. Since it’s easier to stick to a few small changes at a time, begin working out at a level you can handle—even if that’s walking around the neighborhood—for 10 or 15 minutes a day and slowly increase the intensity and length of your workouts over time. You can also set and gradually increase goals for daily water intake while replacing unhealthy meals or snacks with healthy alternatives.
5. Start a gratitude journal.
A great way to keep track of the positive aspects of your life is to start a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, write a few sentences in the journal about the things you’re thankful for that day; even on bad days, you can usually find at least one positive thing that happened. This helps you be purposeful about practicing positivity, and it’s a great way to keep track of all the amazing things that have happened throughout the week or the year, things that you might otherwise have completely forgotten about. After a while, you’ll find that it’s no longer hard to come up with multiple positive aspects of almost any day.
There’s no exact road map or to-do list when it comes to practicing self-love, but that’s a good thing; it allows you to try new things and find activities that leave you feeling relaxed and fulfilled. Whether you unwind best surrounded by your friends or curled up in a cozy corner with a book, practicing self-love requires you to step away from your busy schedule and invest a little bit of time in yourself—and sometimes in others—each day. Hopefully, you’ll feel more energetic and can begin each day with a natural sense of optimism.