Between work, home, and social responsibilities, do you often feel that all your time is spent taking care of others? Neglecting self-care is easy in a busy world, but the consequences can be serious. Adding self-care practices to your daily routine can greatly strengthen your health and well-being. Plus, experts share that the happiest and most successful people regularly focus on self-care!
What is self-help?
The psychology of self-help can be considered intentional coping. It is a way to handle your troublesome situations by exercising deliberate conscious control to improve the outcome of of any given situation. It is a means of recognizing your own personal weaknesses and faults and working to overcome them yourself. It can often involve changing the people or environment around you, such as in the case of overcoming addictions. Self-help focuses on changing your personal behavior, feelings, skills, cognition, or unconscious processes to improve your own circumstances or feelings.
For many, self-help can seem an alien way to approach matters as the western world often focuses on changing others or situations. Examples of that are making children behave, teaching others how to do things, motivating people to do things, pleasing others at the cost of pleasing ourselves, and more. We have cemented the idea that “making things better” means trying to change someone or something else. We often overlook the main focal point of our issues, ourselves and how we view things.
Self-help works on changing the things we have control over, ourselves. It allows us to take back our power to shape who we are into a better version that is more adept at changing as the situation needs.
The ambivalence of self-help
The world is ever changing, every day offers new experiences and things to interact with. There is just too much happening, At any given time our minds are dealing with perception, behavior, emotions, memor, physiological processes, decision making, and planning, that is a lot of stress on the mind. As humans, we want to control our lives and many fear losing that control. As a way to compensate we often resort to using our brains limited conscious resources to plan new solutions to problems we experience.
The problem is that self-control or self-help is complex. It includes the need to control, confidence you have in your control, and the actual control you have. As a rule, we often overestimate our control of a thing and under-estimate our vulnerabilities. This action can help us deal with a situation, whereas thinking we have no control or feeling helpless actually decreases our effectiveness in dealing with a situation. But it can be taken to extremes, in either situation. If you assume you have too much control and a thing goes wrong then you blame yourself for the outcome. As Dr Frued once said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” A bad situation is just that, a bad situation. You probably wouldn’t have been able to affect a different outcome on it.
Is self-help a bunch of nonsense?
Admittedly, when most people think of self help they flash to one of two places. First, this new age hippy mind set where if you think everything is okay, then it will be. All you need to do is light some incense, sit quietly, and repeat a few mantras and your life will be infinitely better. Second, you talk to a counselor who tells you what to do and it sounds like hogwash, so you refuse to try to implement any of it.
Sure, self-help can sound like some new age philosophy or someone telling you what they think you need to do to live a better life. The simple truth is that it is a way to reshape your mind from the negative habits you have built up over a lifetime. Self-help is taking control of your own well being and it is like any other muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
So how do you start using self-help to better yourself? You are in luck, I have some self-help strategies you can start implementing to create change in your life.
Here are some simple self-care strategies you can implement today:
1. Block out time for self-care in your schedule. It’s not enough to occasionally stop your busy lifestyle and take a walk or indulge in a hot bath. Self-care is an ongoing process. Just as you reserve time in your schedule for other appointments, set aside time to take care of yourself, too. It’s important to adopt self-care habits that you can enjoy on a regular basis. They’ll help you avoid burnout, increase your productivity, and allow you to enjoy life.
2. Enjoy your favorite hobby. Whether you love to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen or paint pictures of sunsets, your favorite hobbies can be part of self-care. Hobbies and activities that you already enjoy are easy to select and put into practice. You just have to find room in your schedule to do them. This is an important step and shows your commitment to self-care.
3. Make note of the compliments you receive. You can enjoy this self-care practice even as you work or run errands! Start taking notes of the compliments you receive. You can keep them in a journal, diary, or online folder. Your compliment folder can also include emails, notes, thank you cards, and other things that make you smile. This self-care practice can help you fight negative thoughts. Compliments can serve as reminders that you matter, your existence is important, and someone appreciates you.
4. Remove clutter. Whether you decide to declutter your closet or clean out the fridge, removing clutter will uplift you. Clutter can drain you physically and mentally. It can also make you unhappy as you try to move through your day. Eliminate the things that no longer serve you. For example, if you’re keeping clothes in your closet that you hate each time you open the door, replace them with clothes that you love.
5. Do one selfish act. Living selfishly all day isn’t recommended, but doing one selfish act that makes you happy can do wonders. You can enjoy just that one thing without feeling guilty about it! If you struggle with self-care, it’s often because you spend all of your energy and time taking care of others. There’s nothing left in your well for yourself. By taking the time to do one selfish act, such as reading your favorite book or ignoring a boring phone call, you’ll be restoring your own importance.
Self-care often takes a backseat to work, family, and other obligations. However, without stopping to take care of your mind and body, you’re at risk of burning out and suffering from serious health issues. Start making time for your self-care practices today!
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