Self-love is a popular term that’s been thrown around in recent years as a means of encouraging one’s personal happiness and well-being.
We’re encouraged to make time for loving ourselves and to not neglect it for the sake of loving others. At the same time, the term has always come across as somewhat vague to me.
Perhaps just as vague as it is to say you’re in love with someone. But beneath the vagueness, maybe there is a clear meaning behind the term.
What does self-love mean?
- Strong affection arising out of personal ties
- Affection and tenderness that’s felt by lovers
- Affection based on common interests and admiration
- Loyal concern for the good of someone
Perhaps for the purposes of understanding love of self, the best meaning of loving one’s self is a loyal concern for our own good.
The good of ourselves can perhaps mean our personal happiness, our wellness, and our overall fulfillment in life.
How do you develop self-love?
You may struggle to feel any kind of love for yourself because you simply don’t like yourself.
If that’s the case, then in order to develop a desire to put yourself first, you need to make changes that increase affection towards yourself.
If you don’t like how you act, then start finding ways to change the way you act. Take public speaking classes to develop confidence. Seek counseling to develop more acceptance with yourself.
If you don’t like the way you look, then start exercising to get in better shape. Learn how to enhance your appearance and dress well so you can feel your best.
When you change the way you feel about yourself, you can feel more inclined to love yourself because you actually like yourself.
When you feel that loyal concern for your own good, then you can start making choices and doing actions that put that loyalty to your own good first,
Here are some techniques that you can use to practice loving yourself.
1. Give yourself enough sleep
There are a number of studies that show the negative impact that a lack of sleep can have on us. It can make us more physically unwell and mentally unstable
Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night to help yourself function well in your day.
2. Eat a good diet
While many people tout a variety of diets, there are some general ideas that most people agree on as far as what to eat.
Experts recommend a diet with vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods, protein foods, and limiting yourself from processed foods.
3. Perform regular exercise
Regular exercise has long been proven as a good means of keeping yourself feeling well. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.
4. Maintain personal hygiene
The first thing that stops happening as often when any of us get down on ourselves is maintaining our personal hygiene.
Beyond the fact that lack of hygiene harms our well-being, with less maintaining of hygiene, it can be more difficult for you to feel good about yourself and treat yourself well.
Take time to bathe regularly, brush your teeth every day, and keep yourself well-groomed
5. Drink water
According to Healthline, drinking enough water in our day plays a role in our energy levels and our physical performance overall.
As far as how much water to drink, it’s recommended men get 3.7 litters of water a day and women get 2.7 litters of water a day.
6. Drink tea
Tea can do a lot of good for all of us. Penn Medicine notes a variety of wellness benefits we can get from drinking it regularly.
Whether you like chamomile or peppermint, find a flavor that you enjoy and try drinking it throughout the week.
7. Get out in nature
Yale University points out that being in nature helps to reduce our stress and anxiety and give us higher self-esteem.
Give love to yourself by going out in nature and breathing in some fresh air.
8. Receive physical touch
Physical touch is known to calm stress on our hearts and helps to activate our compassionate response.
If you don’t have many people in life to hug or hold, animal touch can be just as effective to making yourself feel good.
9. Smile and laugh
You don’t need research to know smiling and laughing does your body good. But I’ve provided them for you anyway to encourage you to give yourself a good laugh once in awhile.
10. Read regularly
Among the benefits of regular reading include improving brain connectivity, increasing your comprehension and vocabulary, and increasing your empathy.
Find a book you’d think would be interesting to read and take time to read every day.
11. Do crossword puzzles
You’ve probably heard this before but doing crossword puzzles keeps your brain feeling sharp later in life.
If you have a smartphone, you can find crossword puzzle apps like wordscapes to make it convenient for you to do them often.
Learning new knowledge or a new skill can help you build up and also maintain your cognitive skills.
Find a new activity to do that’s complex and challenges you. Do it regularly.
13. Practice CBT
CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, is a therapeutic treatment that teaches you to identify and change destructive thought patterns.
Seek out a qualified counselor to give you this kind of therapy to improve your thought processing.
14. Practice meditation
Meditation has been one of the most proven was to reduce stress, lengthen your attention span, and make you a more self-aware and kind person.
Take a few minutes in your day to just sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
15. Make a gratitude list
In addition to being a good stress reliever, expressing gratitude is believed to be beneficial in allowing us to overcome trauma.
Find a journal you can use to write down the things you’re grateful for every day.
16. Put feelings into words
UCLA found that when people put their feelings into words, it reduces the intensity of emotions their feeling.
Make it a habit to be comfortable saying what you feel or writing out what you feel so you can soothe your emotions.
17. Choose positive emotions
University of North Carolina conducted research on positive emotions and discovered that those who had frequent moments of positive emotions had higher resilience against challenges.
The way you can have more moments of positive emotions is being appreciative of the good that you find in your daily circumstances.
18. Spend time in prayer
Prayer has been proven to increase forgiveness, reduce anger, and help us handle difficult emotions. There’s even a study that apparently proved God answers prayers.
Try giving love to yourself spiritually by praying often.
19. Go to church
It’s been learned in recent years that people who go to church once a week are 33% less likely to die young than those who didn’t.
Find a church organization you’re comfortable with that you can get together with once a week.
20. Be spiritual or religious
Being religious or spiritual in some way has been found to help be less depressed in life. Try finding some way to tap into your spiritual side.
You could pray, go to church, read scripture, or do other activities that tap into your faith.
All of these techniques are useful ways to give love to yourself and make yourself feel better in life.
When you put yourself first, you can be better equipped to help others.