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50 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Really Love Yourself

50 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Really Love Yourself

When we love ourselves, it helps us feel our best, and when we feel our best, we can give more to the world. Treating yourself well, and with love, is more than eating healthy and exercising.

What exactly is self-love, though? In Psychology Today, Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. writes, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us.”

She explains the profound effects of self-love, stating, “When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

I’m on a mission to empower people to spend their lives focused on their purpose, priorities, and passions, and to get rid of the junk that gets in the way of living the life of their dreams. Part of living the life you dream of is practicing self-love. Self-love is incredibly important in many areas of your life. It influences how high you set your goals, how you let others treat you, and how you react to difficult situations. Self-love affects how you treat your body, how you manage stress, and your ability to live consistently with your values.

Here are 50 small things you can do every day to practice self-love. I divided them into categories of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness, so you can practice self-love in all areas of wellbeing.

Social wellness

Social wellness is the ability to connect with others and develop positive relationships. To practice self-love in your social life, do the following:

1. Connect today with someone who is positive, inspiring, and encouraging.

2. Visit with your neighbor.

3. Send a note in the mail to a family member or friend.

4. Plan a fun night out with friends.

5. Snuggle with your love.

Emotional wellness

Emotional wellness is the ability to cope with life’s challenges. The University of California states,”The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress, hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner” contributes to increased emotional wellness. To practice self-love in this area, work on the following:

6. If you’re not satisfied with your life, admit it to yourself, and write out your action plan to make changes.

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7. Spend 10 minutes today being quiet.

8. Forgive yourself. You must accept that you are not perfect before you can love yourself.

9. Seek the help you need — set up an appointment for counselling or therapy if you’re struggling emotionally. You are worth it.

10. Spend 10 minutes working on a favorite stress-management technique.

11. Write down your schedule for the day. This will help you set aside time each day to spend time on your priorities and minimize wasted time.

12. Practice an optimistic attitude.

13. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. The messages you tell yourself can greatly influence your life.

14. Set boundaries on how you’ll spend your time. Steer clear of time-sucking activities that don’t add meaning to your life.

16. Turn away from behaviors that tend to get you into trouble.

17. Say no to toxic people and activities.

18. Say yes to adventure.

19. Have fun. Laugh every day.

20. Compliment yourself.

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Spiritual wellness

The University of California describes spiritual wellness as “the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives.” To practice self-love in your spiritual life, take these actions:

21. Explore your faith.

22. Spend time in prayer or meditation.

23. Seek an opportunity to grow in one of the challenges in your life.

24. Get outside in nature.

25. Do something altruistic.

Environmental wellness

Being environmentally well means recognizing your responsibility to make a positive impact on the earth. To practice self-love and environmental wellness, try these tips:

26. Practice not buying what you don’t need.

27. Donate items you don’t need. Practice getting rid of 1 item per day.

Occupational wellness

Occupational wellness involves getting fulfillment from your work. To practice self-love in your work life, take these steps:

28. Learn about your strengths.

29. Discover your passion. This workbook is a great start.

30. Write down your big career goals.

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31. Take one small step each day toward your dream career.

32. Connect with a coworker.

Intellectual wellness

When you are intellectually well, you continually expand your knowledge as a lifelong learner. To practice self-love intellectually, try these actions:

33. Read 1 page of a book that interests you today.

34. Learn.

35. Book an adventure to a new place.

36. Sign up for a new class through community education or a local college.

37. Take a small step out of your comfort zone every day.

Physical wellness

Optimal physical wellness is achieved when you have a healthy quality of life. To practice self-love and increase physical wellness, try these actions:

38. Appreciate the amazing things your body can do rather than focusing on what you consider to be your “flaws.”

39. Schedule your routine physical with your doctor.

40. Pick a new vegetable to eat.

41. Choose one new healthy recipe to make this week.

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42. While you eat, focus on your meal.

43. Make a specific game plan to quit a destructive habit.

44. Nourish your body with healthy choices.

45. Establish a nighttime routine for a healthy dose of sleep.

A few bonuses

46. Set aside time each day to work toward making a big dream of yours a reality. Guard this time furiously.

47. Do something you love every day.

48. Buy yourself fresh flowers someday soon, just for fun.

49. Schedule a massage.

50. Start a gratitude journal and list something you are thankful for every day.

When you start working on these small actions, you’ll begin to accept and appreciate yourself more. When you genuinely love yourself and love life, it causes amazing effects in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to email me at kerry@yourstreamlinedlife.com and tell me one step you’ll take today to practice self-love. Always remember, you are enough and you are worth it.

Featured photo credit: Take Back Your Health Conference 2015 Los Angeles/Take Back Your Health Conference’s Photostream via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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