Self-love is incredibly powerful.
It’s an essential practice to naturally heal depression.
But what does that really mean? Isn’t it selfish to focus on self-love?
There’s a lot of talk out there, in the self-help industry, about self-love. For many of us, this really goes against the grain of how we were raised to think of ourselves. Especially for us women, the idea of self-love can feel especially selfish and ugly.
But truthfully, it’s quite the opposite.
When we make a practice of extending ourselves the love, compassion and forgiveness, that we would extend a best friend, we maintain more positive self-talk, which results in a higher level of mood….aka, less depressed thoughts and less depressed mood!
This practice helps tackle the root causes of depression, diving deeply into your inner world and radiating out into your immediate environment and wider community.
Let’s face it. When you’re happy and healthy, everyone around you benefits. You show up differently. You have more to give.
Life feels good.
Who doesn’t want that?
So how do you get the self-love mojo working for you?
First, notice what you’re telling yourself. Is that pesky voice in your head kind and inspiring or more of a gremlin? (Oh, gremlin, I hear ya!) Pay attention throughout your day to what you’re saying to yourself. Often, we tune this out and don’t even realize the sabotage taking place within our own minds.
Next, reframe your thoughts. What would you tell your best friend in this situation? Extend yourself the same loving kindness you would give your best friend. All too often, we are extremely critical of ourselves. Our negative thoughts lead to negative feelings. This becomes a downward spiral of low mood and thoughts, landing you in depression and overwhelm.
By noticing your thoughts and reframing them with loving kindness, you begin to rewire your mind to think new, more positive thoughts. And this isn’t some sort of new age mumbo jumbo. It really works.
These new uplifting thoughts will become more and more automatic, giving you a happier general state of being.
Now take this a step further.
Reflect on how your feeling. What do you need or want? What are you tolerating? Are you hungry or sleepy? Are you comfortable sitting in your chair? Don’t tune yourself out. Give yourself the attention you crave.
Self-care isn’t about spoiling yourself, complaining, or spending money.
It isn’t about ignoring everyone else or always putting yourself first.
Instead, its about really listening to your body instead of brushing yourself aside. This cultivates greater self-trust. Your body learns to trust that you will give it what it needs. It can depend on you.
Self-care reinforces your personal sense of value and self-worth. Just as you would take care of your home, to maintain and increase its value.
And there’s more. Self-care provides a lasting boost of self-confidence. Taking care of yourself not only for survival, but on a level that allows you to thrive, provides the internal foundation necessary for healing depression.
You need to fill up a big ol’ cup of loving kindness, plain and simple.
So, don’t just eat, but eat nourishing food that gives your body the fuel it needs to thrive.
Be conscious that you’re getting enough quality sleep at night, to wake feeling refreshed.
Give yourself 30 minutes in the evening after the kids are asleep to unwind, relax and just be. Curl up with a good book if that’s what you crave, or make love with your partner.
Fill yourself up from the inside, whatever that looks like for you.
And be gentle.
Real quality change takes time.