Every person should take special care of their body. It’s important as everyone only gets one body in their lifetime. This post considers 3 practices we can use daily.
Self-Acceptance Practice – In our media oriented culture, it’s easy to get hypercritical about body image. However, if you can accept yourself—even those faulty parts, the not so perfect parts—then you can nurture contentment, calm, and confidence within. Self-acceptance can quiet those self-critical voices inside your head.
My advice is to start the day with a soothing self-hug of self-acceptance. This is an ideal practice for starting or ending your day. A self-hug act as an affirmation and antidote for those times you feel lonely and want to feel safe and cared for… without resorting to unhealthy or emotional eating.
Begin by cupping both your hands gently over your heart. Let your hands be soft and warm as you imagine breathing into the heart center. Now, say the following affirming words:
- I am loved and I value myself.
- Because I value myself, I promise to take care of myself.
- I am strong and resilient, and there are others who care about me and love me.
- I am thankful for what is in my life and will find resources to help me find someone equally loving and caring to share my life with.
Holding onto this affirmation, raise your hands high above your head. Then slowly lower your hands in a downward sweeping motion that brings your palms past the front of your face, torso, legs, and finally down to the feet. As the hands move over the body, picture your affirmation being absorbed into your whole being. Lastly, cross your arms in front of the chest and put each palm on the opposite shoulder to invite inner hospitality with a self-hug. Hold this hug until you feel soothed, calm, and cared for. Source: TheCenterForMindfulEating
Self-Care – With the high level of stress that sometimes comes with working, selfcare needs to be of primary importance to mental health workers. If we fail to care for ourselves, we will lack the state of health to take care of others or the tasks we need to accomplish. If you take some time to reflect on how you care for yourself, you may recognize there is a problem. Some helping professionals work long hours, averaging 60 hours per week, perhaps not spending quality time with family and friends, or participating in social activities. Relaxation is another practice that can be beneficial to service professionals. Workers can be deliberate about taking time to relax by spending a few minutes each day to pause and reflect on the things that they appreciate about their life. Service professionals can spend time in nature listening to the melodious sounds of birds while processing thoughts and emotions that accompany the experience. They may spend some time each week outdoors admiring the beauty in nature. Singing and listening to music can also be a wonderful way of capturing and expressing thoughts and feelings concerning the experience of spending time in nature. Source: AAMFT
Treat Yourself to Yoga – Yoga is another timeless practice for nurturing and connecting to your body, mind, and spirit. Here are just a few of the healing benefits yoga offers:
- Relief from stress. As scientific studies have found, yoga lowers heart rates, reduces blood pressure, and decreases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. High levels of cortisol are linked to depression, osteoporosis, and abdominal weight gain.
- Stronger immune function. The practice of yoga poses (asanas) improves the flow of the lymphatic system, responsible for fighting infection and releasing toxins from the body.
- Increased flexibility and balance. Yoga helps release tight muscles and increase range of motion. Even those who claim to be “genetically inflexible” are surprised to find how much more limber they can become through a regular yoga practice. Yoga also deepens your awareness of your body, allowing you to improve your balance and posture
- Greater strength. Yoga is a powerful strength-building exercise for every part of the body, including the muscles of your core, back, legs, chest, and arms. This helps prevent problems such as back pain and arthritis. As you strengthen your body, you also build your inner strength, discipline, and self-confidence.
- Improved mood. Yoga balances the central nervous system and endocrine system and stimulates the release of endorphins – natural mood-elevating neurochemicals. As you practice, your mind relaxes and you’re able to stop dwelling on stressful thoughts and situations. Source: Chopra
If you`d like more information on how to love and care for your body contact us here.
Gina Vanderham Psychotherapy Practice
470 Granville St #830
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V4