Cultivate an attitude of optimism. If you have a perspective that “life is hard,” “bad things always happen,” “nothing ever works out for me,” ask yourself how that is serving you. Remember, the law of attraction says “like attracts like” so if you are constantly thinking negatively, that is exactly what you are attracting
In 2001, I went on my first yoga retreat. It was only a weekend in Connecticut, not a week in an exotic destination, but it changed me forever. It showed me that I could really relax, learn new things, deepen my yoga practice, but most of all experience a unique experience with like-people who were also there to find respite from the usual busyness and possibly some clarity on life.
One of the lessons that I have integrated into my life from Yoga is being in inquiry. To stay curious and have a beginner’s mind continuously opens one up to new learning, different experiences, and a lot less resistance. I hate to say that I now have limited patience for those who think they know it all. Yoga has taught me that there is the potential for limitless learning — about life, about myself, about the world — which by the way changes EVERY DAMN DAY. How can anyone think that there isn’t something else to learn about one thing or everything for that matter.
Immediately when I moved to the Berkshire Mountains in Western Mass. last Spring I felt a change in my being. At first I couldn’t tell what it was. I wondered if it was just the stress subsiding from a challenging move, feeling more secure as I got my feet on the ground in a new job, or just the excitement of meeting new people and being in a new place. After a few months in this inquiry, I realized what it was. My physical, mental, and spiritual Self was being renewed, rejuvenated, and healed by the beautiful nature right out side my window!
Research on mindfulness has shown that the average person has 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day, 95% are the same as yesterday but more staggering is 80% are negative. Therefore, based on this data we have on average 3.5 – 17.5 Million negative thoughts per year!! NO F’ING JOKE. Who wants to live like that?
Do you feel guilty when you focus on self-care? When you actually put your needs in front of others? I used to for a long time and even when I heard the comparison of putting our oxogen mask on first while in a plane before others, I still didn’t put myself first. Until I had twins as a single mother.
I hate being moody. I get mad at myself whenever I am in a funk, not giving myself permission to feel sad, unmotivated, or just plain cranky. Pema Chodron, beloved Buddhist teacher and author, says “having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Not giving myself the room to feel the whole breadth of emotions in life is not giving myself compassion. I’m pretty good at giving others compassion especially when they are having a rough time, but not myself.
An important part of self-care is setting boundaries. A self-care practice includes arranging your life to support your needs and to increase your happiness. One of my favorite exercises that I learned from Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self-Care is about creating your Absolute No List.