There are many excellent things to appreciate in everyday life. You can always find beauty in nature and the world. There are friends, family, and loved ones. And, there are simple necessities. There are all your favorite things. But you might be missing out on the most crucial person to appreciate: yourself!
Yes, many things are worth appreciating, and you certainly should be grateful for them! But many people lose sight of their merit when they focus so much on how good everything else is. Don’t forget that you’re a wonderful person. Additionally, you deserve self-appreciation all the same. If you don’t appreciate yourself, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
But you might find this more challenging that one would think. It can be tough to learn not just to love yourself but actively be grateful for yourself, especially daily. To help inspire you, here are four quick and simple yet effective ways to appreciate yourself every day.
1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
To facilitate self-directed positive thinking, you first need to create a positive environment that will appreciate and love you in turn. After all, it’s only fair that you receive back what you put out there into the world! So take care to vet your friends carefully, and find the people who will treat you the way you deserve to.
· ACCEPT AND APPRECIATE GENUINE COMPLIMENTS
Good relationships will try to build you up, which is precisely what we all need. It can be tempting to downplay or brush aside a compliment and instead await some grand display of affection, but this isn’t healthy or realistic. Instead, it is much healthier for both our self-esteem and our relationships with others to accept and internalize genuine compliments. A study has shown that receiving praise is related to a positive increase in our capabilities too!
REMOVE TOXIC PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE
It’s easy to find yourself surrounded by toxic people who take advantage of you, without ever really returning the love and care you give them. This can apply to both parents, friends, and partners alike. If any of them either demands help without helping you in turn, belittles you repeatedly, or talks to you behind your back, it’s best to cut them out of your life directly. Set up firm, healthy boundaries, and stick to those who take care of your feelings in return.
· ASK A CLOSE FRIEND TO EXPLAIN WHAT THEY LIKE ABOUT YOU
You may feel like this is unnecessary and selfish, but there’s no harm in asking your friends what they like or love about you – especially if you’re not feeling too well. Have them tell you or it down for you to read so that you can be reminded of what positive impact you have on those around you, and what you’re good at. This activity will give you something to refer back to the next time you find yourself questioning your worth!
2. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Your physical and mental wellbeing are often two things that are strongly intertwined with each other. So it should come as no surprise that it’s easier to engage in self-directed positive thinking when you’re physically healthy and in good shape.With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when trying to make yourself healthy:
· EAT A BALANCED DIET
Studies have shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between nutritional deficiencies and depression. In other words, there’s a pretty good reason you should take a closer look at your current diet. Getting enough water, nutrition, and sleep will make you feel physically better – and, by extension, makes it easier for you to feel better about yourself.
Exercise has been proven by research to confer all sorts of benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing. In this particular case, it helps with alleviating anxiety and depression. And this is before taking into account that workouts will help you feel and look better, which can help build your sense of self-worth. This is especially so if you’re doing strength training, which often has clear and visible progress you can refer to!
· MANAGE STRESS LEVELS
This tidbit should come as no surprise to you. Stress has been proven by research to inflict a strong, negative effect on our psychological state. This means that doing your best to manage your stress and relax helps you appreciate yourself better!
3. LEARN TO TALK YOURSELF UP
Many of us often tend to talk down or belittle ourselves, whether out loud or internally. This is especially so if we had grown up in an environment that had been very hurtful while we were growing up, and in the process, internalized these negative thoughts.
To better appreciate yourself better, it’s better for your mental wellbeing to instead:
· REPLACE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
If you find yourself faced with negative beliefs about yourself, try replacing them with something else. Statements like “I’m so fat” or “I’m so stupid” will naturally come up automatically after making a mistake or being embarrassed, but they should not go uncontested. Instead, rewrite them to be more realistic and positive. Bring up the good things you have about yourself, or remind yourself that your failures do not make you a bad person.
DON’T FALL VICTIM TO SHAME
Before you can truly learn to appreciate yourself, you first need to differentiate between guilt and shame , and the emotions they cause. Both of them are responses to making a mistake, but only one of them is potentially productive. Guilt often realizes and acknowledges that you’ve done something terrible, and can spur you to positive change. On the other hand, shame often makes you stew in feelings of failure. This, of course, isn’t productive in the slightest. If you make an error, it is always best to focus on remedying it the best you can, and then moving on.
· USE MANTRAS OR POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Self-affirmation isn’t as silly as you might think it is. Studies show that repeated upbeat mantras – especially in reaction to adverse circumstances – can activate the reward center of your brain. As a result, the usage of mantras in the face of adversity can help reinforce one’s inner resilience and strength. This means that so long as it’s short, concise, and meaningful to you, that mantra you’re repeating in your head may just brighten your day!
· LEAVE YOURSELF POST-IT NOTES
Another way to saturate yourself with positive affirmations is by placing sticky notes where you can see them. Try writing down little notes like “I’m fantastic,” and “I am loved.”
Then place them where you could use some encouragement. For example, on your bathroom mirror, on the back of the door when you’re heading out, or even in your wallet. This makes self-affirmation a tangible and visible thing that, depending on how creative you get (and how quickly you forget), may serve as a way to boost your spirits at unexpected times of the day.
· DELVE INTO YOUR THOUGHTS
Far too often, we tend to accept negative self-assessments without ever really challenging them casually. As a result, we tend to simply take these negative ideas of unworthiness and belittling as fact, despite them often being mostly baseless. So the next time you find yourself coping with thoughts of worthlessness and the like, consider asking yourself what triggered them, and where do these thoughts come from. This way, you get to identify what is the actual root cause behind such negative perceptions of yourself and learn how to undo that learned thought behavior. Remember – you are not your thoughts. They are temporary and will pass with time. It’s best to allow them to leave without clinging on to them.
4. BE KIND TO OTHERS
Too often, we tend to focus on negativity, often to the point that we ignore everyone around us. It may seem counterintuitive, but turning our focus outwards and caring for others is often an incredibly effective way to feel better about ourselves. This is because we get to finally do something tangible that has clear and distinct positive effects, which often, in turn, uplifts our mood.
On top of that, kindness can also serve as both a way to practice gratitude – which in itself is a useful skill that helps with one’s self-worth. Want to get started? Here are a few tips to get started with:
· THANK THOSE AROUND YOU
Try taking a moment to recognize when someone did their best to help you out, and thank them in return. It’s a simple action that not only inspires positivity in others but also likely will inspire positivity in you as well! To do this, pay attention to the actions and behavior of those around you, friends, and strangers alike. While a general “thank you” will suffice, it pays to take one step further and try being specific about what good or help they’ve done for you. This way, you’ll also learn to be more appreciative and observant of the world around you.
· GO THE EXTRA MILE
Instead of being a passive bystander, be deliberate in your acts of encouragement and understanding. Research has shown that performing acts of kindness helps the performer’s wellbeing as well. This is often because the act of thinking and treating others kindly inspires you to think about how you, too, can be kind and understanding towards yourself as well, and how you would want others to treat you.
· VOLUNTEER FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Consider trying to help those less fortunate than you are in places like soup kitchens, orphanages, or nursing homes. In the process of assisting others, you’ll find that you might actually be uplifted in turn as well – and not just in an emotional way. Studies show that serving others not only reduces depression and negative thoughts, but also gives you a boost in oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin – all neurotransmitters that are responsible for feelings of happiness and joy!