We move along through life and suddenly we’re caught up in a nasty track of self-hatred and loathing, making life difficult to enjoy.
Perhaps you’re in a soul-sucking career, or your living situation isn’t that great, or maybe you’ve grown out of the circle of friends you used to hang with. Either way, experience has shown me that it’s usually a multitude of things that tend to bring us down, rather than just one random incident.
And since environment plays a huge role in how deviant genes get turned on and off leading to things like depression, anxiety and obsessive thoughts, I’m super excited to share with you three simple practices that have helped me and my clients cultivate a positive environment so you and your genes can thrive.
- Examine Your Thought Patterns
It took me years to figure this one out and I still struggle with it from time to time. You see, most of the time your thoughts really aren’t your own, but since we’ve been trained from birth to accept our thoughts as truth, we never question their authenticity. For example, perhaps you grew up with a mother that had a poor image of her body and as a child you took on her pain, even though her thoughts weren’t yours to begin with. Today I encourage you to begin to question the rapid, automatic thoughts that blow through your mind day after day. Now on a sheet of paper draw a line down the middle and write them down on the left side. On the right side I want you to write down a solution or new thought pattern such as “I am healthy, happy and strong, and I love my body as it is, right here, right now.” One of my favorite books of all time for help with this practice is Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson.
- Create A Good Feeling Jar
I like to use a mason jar with a pretty label, but any jar will do. Just make sure it’s one you like to look at and puts a smile on your face. Now here’s what I want you to do:
When someone says something nice about you, write it down. When you try something new that was scary at first that you didn’t think you could do, write it down. When something amazing happens, write it down. The point is to collect good thoughts and moments like souvenirs and store them in your pretty jar so that when you’re feeling rotten, you can read through those good feelings and feel them all over again. It’s a nice reminder that you are amazing and perfect, just as you are.
- Live In The Now
I get it. You hear this all the time and you’re probably over it, but before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, I want to share this with you: when you’re attacking yourself or ruminating about something you did or obsessing about something you haven’t done, you’re not living in the present moment and the many gifts it has for you. When you bring your awareness to the present moment, you break free from that mental trap. I like to use conscious breathing exercises and long walks in nature to bring me back to the present. Simply inhale through your nose for 5 counts, hold for 5, then exhale through your mouth for 7 counts. Do this 10 times and you’ll feel more relaxed and at peace.
Do you have a practice that helps keep you out of self-hatred? If you do, I’d love to know about it in the comments below. Sharing what you know is how we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.