Most of us could stand to take better care of ourselves, usually a lot better care. Our bodies are pretty resilient and can take quite a beating before they begin to break, so we usually don’t realize how bad things are until a serious problem develops. As for our minds, it is expected we be stressed, harried messes, and we take some sort of weird pride in how much tension we can endure; but it is not something of which to be proud is it?
If the idea of being kinder to your mind and body has actually been nagging at you, and you know you need to start doing something about it, here are just a few tips to get you started.
Meditation is so much more than a spiritual practice, and don’t worry, you won’t become some ‘weirdo’ if you take it up. The benefits are largely practical, such as reducing stress, and calming the mind. While there really is no one official ‘best’ practice for improving our mental health, meditation is kind of the best.
So much of our mental strife is due to our perceptions, habitual reactions and inability to control our thoughts rather than letting them control us. When we can get things calmer upstairs, everything about our life and how we move through it changes.
When you begin to meditate, you will become less attached to your negative thoughts and emotions, which reduces their intensity and makes them pass more quickly. You will take time to respond to what is happening to you rather than just react.
Meditation is great for your physical health too—it can lower blood pressure, and change how we perceive pain and other unpleasant sensations.
Pamper Your Body
A lot of things that are really good for the body and our health have actually gained a reputation as being ‘self-indulgent.’ The massage is a perfect example; sure, they aren’t cheap, but the health benefits have actually been well-established, and are a worthy investment. Commit to getting one at least once a month; When you visit the massage therapist, make sure you tell her about any specific issues you are having so she can know to concentrate on them—this ensures you will get the most out of the experience.
Take hot baths to unwind; buy some quality massage oils and learn about self-massage. Experiment with different treatment modalities such as rolfing or craniosacral therapy. Be kind to your body, and take good care of it—don’t be one of those people who doesn’t realize the value of health until it slips away from you.
Don’t Try to Change Overnight
When we first decide we want to take better care of ourselves, we have actually this surge of motivation that prompts really drastic changes. In theory, we can totally transform overnight, but it usually doesn’t happen this way. We usually give up after a bit because it seems really hard to sustain. It is important you be patient with your efforts, and make smaller changes that are challenging enough you will feel good about succeeding, but not so hard you will likely give up after a few days. Tackle one or two things at a time, and as it becomes more second-nature, up the ante a bit.