Self-nurturance and the practice of loving ourselves can be challenging. Clients often report struggling with self-kindness—often noting that it is easier to be nicer to others than towards themselves. The following describes 7 core practices that an individual may use to promote emotional wellness and strengthen the mind-body connection.
“Think Act Be” represents a tool that is based on mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral strategies to illustrate how changes in thoughts leads to changes in behaviors, and how being present in the moment can further cultivate self-kindness.
Sleeping: The benefits of a restful night and prioritizing sleep are multifold; sleeping patterns influence energy, concentration, relationships, and overall mood. It is unhelpful to think, “Tomorrow will be terrible if I can’t fall asleep,” and may actually exacerbate the problem. Instead, focus on doing the best you can by setting an alarm (action), using a consistent bedtime, and accepting that your body will sleep when it is ready (mindfulness and letting go/acceptance).
Nutrition: Our physical, mental, and emotional self is significantly impacted by the nutrients we take in. It is important to plan your meals ahead, cook balanced meals, and enjoy the food you are eating in the present moment. What does it taste like?
Movement: Moving our bodies’ leads to a natural release of endorphins, and also increases blood flow to the brain, provides an avenue for social connection, and leads to a sense of accomplishment. Focus on letting go of rules (thoughts) and consider experimenting with a new workout or new way to move your body (action) while also focusing on your breathing (state of being).
Stress Management: Thoughts are often connected to anxiety and stress, such as “ I have to finish this project today or I will fail.” With such rigid and unrealistic expectations, you set yourself up for failure. Take action by scheduling breaks and incorporate acceptance and mindfulness by observing how stress feels in your body.
Nature: We live in a society addicted to technology. This makes it easy to fall into a pattern or trap of comparisons. Consider how nature impacts your thoughts versus how social media impacts your thoughts. Choose times to de-plug and disconnect, and when you have conversations, be fully present and pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal language.
Service: Individuals feel a stronger sense of purpose when helping others. Advocating for others also reduces anxiety and depression, and is a positive distraction. Cook a meal for a neighbor; send a letter to a colleague, and practice responding with compassion rather than judgment.
Gratitude: Focus more on what is going right rather than what is going wrong; seek joy by thinking about what you have to be grateful for in your life, write a list of your blessings, and practice mindfulness by using meditations on gratitude.