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Being Kinder, It Starts With Yourself – – –

on June 1, 2020

Smarter Living: 4 ways to be kinder to yourself in 2020

 

By Tim Herrera

Happy 2020 and a half! Are you exhausted yet?

With everything happening all the time, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. How can we focus on ourselves when there is so much going on around us, not even to mention worrying about careers, families, money, stress and everything else that comes with modern life?

But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. This year, Smarter Living published loads of stories centered around self-acceptance and self-care, whether that means acknowledging a small achievement, being O.K. with your guilty pleasures or just trying to be a little more scarce.

Here are four simple ways to be a little kinder to yourself in 2020.

Take more time for yourself

Choosing to spend time alone can benefit your social relationships, improve your creativity and confidence, and help you regulate your emotions so that you can better deal with adverse situations, according to experts.

“It’s not that solitude is always good, but it can be good” if you’re open to rejecting the idea — common in the west — that time by yourself is always a negative experience you’re being forced into, according to Thuy-vy Nguyen, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Durham University, who studies solitude. She added that because solitude helps us regulate our emotions, it can have a calming effect that prepares us to better engage with others.

Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout, said Emily Roberts, a psychotherapist. Read more >>

Enjoy things when they’re good

Worrying about when “the other shoe will drop” will only steal your current joy.

In a paper examining the costs and benefits of negative expectations in the journal Emotion, researchers found that students who predicted getting a poor grade on an exam felt bad for days before receiving their results. Worse, their stressing didn’t diminish the disappointment they felt once they got their scores.

One underlying reason people worry is that on some level they assume it helps. Yet we need to accept that we can’t perfectly prepare for potential challenges.

“There are an infinite number of bad things that could possibly happen (although most are unlikely), and there is just no way a person can anticipate them all,” according to Dr. Michel Dugas, a psychology professor at the University of Quebec.

Keep in mind that research has shown we are notoriously bad at predicting how we will feel in a given situation, and things often go better than we imagine they will in moments of fear. Dr. Dugas shared a takeaway a client observed: “I try to worry about everything bad that could possibly happen so that I won’t be taken off guard. What really bothers me is that although I do sometimes experience bad things, they are never the ones I thought about!” Read more >>

Learn to accept a compliment — even if it’s from yourself

Pumping yourself up after a big win can feel a little awkward. You want to acknowledge good work, but you don’t want to feel arrogant. It’s that tricky balance of quietly reveling in a job well done without coming off as … well, a jerk.

Despite that awkwardness, getting credit for your work gives your brain good feelings and helps you accomplish more. Companies use praise to try to boost productivity and even revenue, and experts say that the psychological impact of keeping a positive view of your accomplishments can decrease stress and encourage better habits.

And even if you’re bad at taking a compliment, or you’re not getting external recognition, you can still enjoy major psychological benefits from celebrating your achievements on your own, according to experts. Read more >>

Turn your regrets into self-improvement

Many of us try to push pain away. Others ruminate about perceived mistakes. But whether you ignore or fixate on what’s troubling you, research has shown that it’s impossible to run from emotions without consequences. And in a vicious twist, dodging upsetting feelings actually makes them even more present: Suppressing our emotions can diminish our capacity for joy and potentially manifest as physical pain.

So instead of trying to ignore your regrets, it’s a better idea to practice acknowledging the experience. Try this: Start by slowing down and noticing your thoughts and sensations. Relax your face and hands, and think about accepting how you feel now without worrying you’ll feel this way forever. Reaching this middle ground between avoiding and dwelling will prove less depressing.

Researchers also found that when people find a silver lining in their regret, they are able to think more clearly.

“Regret can be a problem, but one benefit of regret is that it signals improvement is possible,” said Neal Roese, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University who focuses on the psychology of judgment and decision-making. “The trick is to avoid obsessing and pull out a lesson that can be applied in future situations.”

Smarter Living: 4 ways to be kinder to yourself in 2020

 

 


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