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Dedicated to self-harm recovery, insight and support.

Healthy Habits

We’re all very quick to judge ourselves when we do something wrong. Heck, we’re quick to judge ourselves even when we’ve done nothing wrong! It seems to be in our nature that we pick out all our flaws and use them against ourselves. What we often don’t realise is that by doing this, we’re allowing others to use these things against us.

The things that make us who we are – our mannerisms, character, physical attributes (to name just a few) – are unique to us, but we often mistake them for flaws and get caught up on them. It’s important to remember that over-thinking such tiny, irrelevant things is not going to help them disappear, or help us feel any happier. It’s easy to do, and it’s most definitely easier to criticise ourselves than to praise ourselves, but does it make us feel good? Nope!

The more negatively we think about ourselves, the more we are feeding our bad habits. Bad habits can be a range of things such as self-harming, cursing ourselves, complaining about how we look, and starving ourselves of the love that we deserve. 

Rather than continuing with these bad habits, why don’t we try accepting our individualities and loving ourselves instead?

You may think that you don’t deserve to love yourself. For as long as I can remember, I've put myself down, pushed away compliments, scolded myself when I look in the mirror, told myself repeatedly that I'm too this and too that, been ashamed of myself, wished I could be somebody else, be a better friend and a better sister and a better daughter and a better student, believed that I am not enough.

It is only recently that I have realised that I’ve been wrong all along. You see, you may think you don’t deserve love and respect, but these are just thoughts, and thoughts can be changed.

The mind is an incredibly powerful thing, and is very misunderstood. The mind does not control us. We control the mind. We have a choice of the thoughts that we feed it, the words that we tell ourselves. It may be that you choose to think negative thoughts about yourself. We all do it; you are not alone. But it doesn’t have to be this way – you can choose to think positively. When your thoughts change, your life will change.

Now – right this second – is the time for you to reduce your bad habits, and introduce healthy habits. We all want to feel happy, but in order to do so, we must be willing to work hard and make a change.

I’d like to share with you some of the healthy habits I am working on to develop my self-love...

  1. Stop yourself when you go to criticise yourself. Most of the time, nobody else will know that you’re being hard on yourself, because these criticisms are expressed as thoughts. In fact, you probably don’t even notice how much you criticise yourself. The first step is to start paying attention to your thoughts, listen to your mind. Recognise whether a thought is positive or negative. If you have a negative thought, make a conscious decision to push it away, and concentrate on the next thought. Create positive thoughts, too, and repeat these over and over like affirmations.
  2. Exercise regularly and feed yourself with goodness. I’m not a great fan of exercise or sport of any kind, but I know the importance of physical activity on your mental health. It’s incredible how the two work hand-in-hand. Exercise releases endorphins which increase your sense of wellbeing. Find something that works for you. Run, go for walks, play tennis! For me, yoga is great – not too strenuous (as I suffer with asthma), helps me to focus on my breathing (and listen to my mind and body), and the uncomfortable positions on my mat help me to deal with discomfort in my life. Similarly, the foods that you eat don’t just feed your body – they feed your mind. Eat high goodness foods (as well as indulgent treats of course – we all need chocolate cake now and then) and give your body and mind the energy they need to function to the best of their ability. 
  3. Relax and treat yourself. For most of us, life is very busy at times, but we can always make time for some relaxation and pampering. Set aside at least half an hour every day to do something that will make you feel relaxed and loved. This could be taking a long hot bath with some candles, or reading your favourite book, or sitting down and doing some colouring. It could be writing, or doing some yoga, or watching a few episodes ofFriends. I can’t express enough the importance of taking time to do something that makes you happy.
  4. List 3 things that you’re grateful for at the end of each day. This is something that I really love doing and has made such a difference to my mood and perspective. Before I go to sleep, I always make a mental list of things that have made me happy during that day, or things that I am grateful for (my mum, sunny weather for walking to uni, nabbing the last chocolate bar on the shelf). I also have an Instagram account where I post a photo of something that’s made me happy every day of the year. It’s a great motivation tool and will gently increase your positivity. 
  5. Be willing to change your thoughts. None of this is possible if you’re not willing to make it happen. Your healthy habits won’t appear overnight – you have to work at them. But that’s not a bad thing – it can be a fun challenge! Tell yourself that you’re willing to learn and grow, that you’re ready to make a change and that you’re going to work hard at it.

So, do yourself a truly deserving favour and decide to change your thought patterns, and your relationship with yourself. Turn your bad habits into healthy habits! Everything negative in your life can be turned into a positive once you learn to love the self, approve of yourself, and make a decision to take control.

It’ll be worth it, I promise you.

Steph is 19 years old and studying Media Production at University. She's a cake-loving shopaholic who lives for yoga, gluten and dairy-free pizza, spending time with her friends and family and making people happy. Steph also blogs at www.stephslittleworld.com/