Ways to be Kinder to Yourself

If you are stressed, anxious, and feeling fearful these days, the best way to cope is to be kinder to yourself. The problem is, most of us concentrate on being kind to others but all too often we forget to be kind to ourselves.

Life’s tough enough, stressful enough, hard enough, challenging enough, so there’s no reason not to begin with yourself. You may be having a difficult day or a difficult week. It can feel like an uphill climb to get out of that emotional and mental rut and be kind to yourself, but there are, fortunately, many tools at our disposal for resetting our attitude. When we show ourselves kindness, we start to create new habit patterns and neuron pathways in the brain. These new “mentalities” take us from seeing everything as negative and grim to joyful, positive, and full of opportunity.

Carve out some time for yourself.

Every day carve out some time for yourself and do something that brings you joy. You can draw, journal, write short stories, play a musical instrument, or do anything else that you love to do.

Be kind to yourself by giving yourself some “me time” each day.

Forgive yourself often.

This may be the best and hardest tool to implement in your life, but it is so potent! We are so hard on ourselves, and we are often our own worst critic. We can easily forgive our friends and family, but we have a harder time taking that forgiveness within.

When you get caught up in self-blame, pause and think about how you would react to the same situation with a friend. Often, we need the same kind of forgiveness. At the end of the day, we’re doing the best that we can. When we know better, we can do better. In the meantime, forgiveness is key.

Cultivate gratitude.

Each night, before you go to bed, no matter how weathered you feel from the experiences of your day, no matter how difficult things might feel, write down three aspects of your life that you are grateful for. Gratitude helps to transform your perspective and remind you that even throughout your hardest seasons, you still have access to so much beauty in your life.

Be present, and be honest, about the things that crack light into your dark of days, and move towards them. Make time for them. Acknowledge them. Be thankful that they are with you along your journey.

Give yourself recognition.

Often, we’re quick to acknowledge the achievements of others, but slow to acknowledge our own. That has to stop. Become aware of your own achievements and give yourself recognition.

When you do something you’re proud of, stop for a minute and dwell on it. Praise yourself and relish the achievement. Complement yourself. Pat yourself on the back and say the following: “Kudos to me!”

Surround yourself with like-minded people.

Our loved ones have a beautiful way of pulling you out of your own funk when you don’t know how to be kind to yourself. Just by being around other people, our energy can lift and shift in ways that promote a new, fresh start to our day. Make sure you find friends who will be patient with you and make space for you to be heard and loved.

If you feel like your friends aren’t capable of this, it may be the moment to limit the amount of time you spend with them. Remember to surround yourself with people who can lift you up versus people who can only bring you down!

Lift yourself up.

When you fail, make a mistake, or do something wrong, you have two choices. You can tear yourself down, or you can lift yourself up. People who are kind to themselves choose the latter.

Tell yourself it’s going to be OK. Give yourself a morale boost by reminding yourself of your past successes. Then, come up with a plan for dealing with what happened, and take action.

Accept yourself.

Accept yourself as you are. You have strengths, and you have weaknesses. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail. Sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you’re wrong.

Allow yourself to be fully who you are.

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