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5 Ways To Improve The Relationship With Yourself

5 Ways To Improve The Relationship With Yourself

The one and most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. In order for all your other relationships to work, you need to consider the time you spend on yourself and your own needs. Let’s be honest that if you feel fulfilled with yourself, you will project the same positive energy to the world out there and all your relationships will benefit from that.

You need to constantly pay attention to your body, to the daily signals it gives you about the way it feels. You also need to make sure you give yourself enough love, nurture, care and accept yourself for the person you are. The way you treat yourself will impact the way you treat other people – if respect and love grows within you, then they will grow around your relationships as well.

Here are 5 ways to improve the relationship you have with yourself:

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1. Practice self-love

The starting point of improving the relationship with yourself is loving and accepting yourself for who you are. Think about the importance of enjoying your own company because if you don’t, how can others enjoy it? When you start accepting and being grateful for yourself, that will be the moment you start a healthy and loving relationship with yourself. Make sure you show love to yourself in your daily endeavors even if it means grabbing your favorite drink or sitting for a moment and reading your favorite magazine.

From time to time look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of the person you have turned into. Showing appreciation of yourself is a key in practicing self-love every day.

2. Make time for yourself

Making time for yourself must become a priority in your life if you want to have a lasting loving relationship with yourself. You can’t really give much to others if you do not show care and nurture to yourself first. Perhaps saying “no” to other people is the starting point to create some extra time for yourself.

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When you make yourself a priority you will be able to unwind and recharge for the next day. There is nothing wrong with this because what we normally do is put ourselves on a second plan in order to fulfill other responsibilities and inquiries.

3. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Many times you have fallen into the trap of feeling guilty about something you have done or something wrong you said. You then start accusing yourself of not being appropriate and always making the wrong moves with other people. Well, it is time you stop doing that and start considering the importance of being kind to yourself.

If you do not do it now, when will you start doing it? How long can you go on with being so harsh on yourself? The more love and kindness you show to yourself, the more it will be able to give you back. So make sure you are aware of your own thoughts in order to start a healing relationship full of acceptance, gratitude, and awareness.

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4. Think about your health

Taking good care of your own body, having a regular and nutritional diet and enough exercise every week is really important for you. Meditating and practicing yoga are also essential for connecting to your inner world and becoming aware of what is going inside your mind. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is like giving yourself a precious gift every single day in order for you to feel happy and fulfilled.

Fall in love with the process of caring about your own health, mind and spirit. Your body is practically like a home to you, so make sure you turn it into a place full of love and comfort.

5. Smile more often

Smile and laugh more often. Do not take life so seriously and make time for having fun. Life becomes a much more exciting journey when we start acting and thinking mindfully and always expecting good results in return. Practice to be more positive and optimistic towards the world out there as this will be extremely helpful in maintaining the relationship you have with yourself.

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When you become more enthusiastic about life in general, the way about you feel yourself will change. You will be much more excited to wake up in the morning and embrace the person you have become. So go on and make your every day beautiful because you deserve to have an amazing relationship with yourself!

Featured photo credit: Deya Walking on the Beach / Nan Palmero via flickr.com

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Filiz Mehmedova

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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