Health + Wellness

Replacing Self-Doubt with Self-Love

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I read this great article this morning on the CNN website on How to Kick Negative Self Talk to the Curb.

I don’t think I’m alone in dealing with this issue – it’s been all over the media lately. I often wonder if men go through the same self doubt that women do, and how they work through it. Lately, this has been a big obstacle for me, but I do feel like I’m working toward my own personal resolution. One thing that really spoke to me in that article was the recognition of ‘triggers’ – whether they are situations, thought patterns or even people, we need to find a way to alleviate, or limit, the triggers that spark that downward spiral.

Here are some of the ways I’m working through this every day:

  1. Gratitude: I am trying to say ‘thank you’ to myself every morning when I wake. I know, it sounds dorky, but try it. I am thankful that I woke! I am even thankful for my aches and pains because it means that my body is working and it’s defense mechanisms are on point.
  2. Stress Relief: I still have to work on this – I thought I was doing better, but a recent blood test showed my stress hormone had actually increased in the last month. Wait, what?! I’m trying to take my days slower, and trying to incorporate meditation into my day (this is a difficult habit for me to adopt! there’s always so much to do!). I’m trying to be more mindful of my actions and words, and trying to not let negative external circumstances affect me (I’m looking at you, driver who flipped me off for no reason yesterday).
  3. Sleep: 8 hours a night. Non-negotiable. I get up at 5:30 am these days, so that means a 9-9:30 pm bedtime.
  4. Eating Clean: I know I’m a broken record on this, but you really are what you eat, and if you fuel your body with clean, whole foods, your body will thank you back (see #1).
  5. Taking time for YOU: I think we all need a portion of the day that is all about ourselves. It isn’t selfish, although it can feel that way in the beginning. For me, this is usually my time at the gym. I might have a hard time getting there some days, especially weekends when I want to just veg out, but the feeling I have after a workout is worth it. For me, it isn’t about more energy and endorphins, it’s about a clearer head and sense of accomplishment.
  6. Mindset: This is huge, and I think this is where we get in trouble with ourselves. When I think about mindset, I also think about the triggers that might bring me down, and nipping those thoughts in the bud. When something, or someone, bothers me or upsets me, I have a little mind trick I play: VISUALIZE a box in your head. VISUALIZE putting that person, thought or situation, in the box. VISUALIZE closing the box, with tape, and putting a label on the box. And then VISUALIZE putting that box in a room in your head. VISUALIZE closing the door to that room. You do not have to go into that room again.
  7. Journaling: Another habit I am trying to incorporate into my day. This isn’t like the diary we kept in 6th grade; this is a journal. You can write about your day, you can write about your dreams, you can write out your visualizations. It’s a mindful exercise, and I’ve found (when I remember to do it) that it really helps with my relaxation and stress level.

I was going through my bookshelf recently and came across The Secret. I pulled it out and started reading it again, and realized it’s all about the self love. The key to happiness is loving yourself unconditionally and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It doesn’t happen overnight, and most of us have to work at it daily with baby steps. I think that’s okay. Stopping the negative thoughts that take up residence in our heads and replacing them with positive thoughts is the first step.

What do you do to negate the self doubt and how do you work the self love into your day and life? I’d love to know what other people do!

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