Why are we talking about Self-care?
In the previous post ( here ) I talked about making yourself a priority and decluttering your life – and how it is an integral part of self care.
But, Self-care isn’t just getting your nails done or having a jog around the block (though lots of those things really help), it is also about paying attention to what’s going on in your head.
To my younger clients, I talk about Moaning Myrtle. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know her. She’s the little whiny ghost who sits in the ladies loos and, well, just moans. If you are giving Moaning Myrtle too much air time, you are not taking care of yourself, as you are consistently subjecting yourself to negative mind chatter.
How to start making these changes – is to start thinking more positively.
It really is that simple. As soon as I become aware of the negativity taking hold in my head, I just picture a large rubber stamp with the words STOP IT! In my head I say
“Stop! That’s not helping me. I am not interested.”
And I can honestly say that I am noticing that my thinking is less destructive. Yes it takes a while to get used to not paying attention to the rubbish in your head – but it sure as hell works. It just takes some practice.
The negative voice in your head that says “you’re not good enough” or “don’t do that – what would people think?” … it actually has a purpose. It’s the reptilian part of your brain, and it’s sole purpose is your survival. And let’s face it – if you are reading this, then it’s done it’s job well – as your are obviously alive.
The reptilian part of the brain does not like change because change is unpredictable. Unpredictability means lack of certainty and that makes your reptilian brain (the unconscious mind) feel jittery. This part of the brain needs to understand the ground rules so that it can ensure you aren’t going to be threatened. It’s looking for ways to get you back to “the safe zone” – so it can be sure of knowing what to expect.
However, sometimes staying in your comfort zone is just not healthy, it’s certainly not very exciting. By playing it safe – you miss out on the opportunities and you are likely to miss out on all the fun.
SO how do we make these changes – whilst staying alive !?!
ACCEPT : Firstly it’s important to understand that these thoughts are just Moaning Myrtle trying to protect you.
But rather than hang on to these thoughts, just let them float through your mind – and out the other side. Thank Moaning Myrtle for her concern and her need to keep you alive – but you’ve got this. It’s going to be OK
CHALLENGE : Secondly challenge the thoughts that are coming in. Are these thoughts in fact true? What evidence is there that you should pay attention to all this negativity?
TAKE ACTION : Finally take positive action. Maybe apply for that new job, or ask that person out. By taking positive action you are showing your reptilian brain that there are in fact other courses of action that you can take – and likelihood is – you’ll survive!
This September, I went sky diving. Moaning Myrtle wasn’t just chattering away, she was yelling from the rooftops. But there was no way I was going to miss out on the fun! I accepted that Moaning Myrtle had a very, very credible opinion. She was right, this was a bit fool hardy and it was scary. However, I accepted that.
But then I challenged these thoughts. OK there was a possibility that I might die – but how likely was this?
✔️I was going with a reputable firm
✔️Statistically their safety records were excellent.
✔️They hadn’t lost to anyone yet!!
✔️Whilst this jump felt insane and foolish – it was a real challenge too – which I enjoy. Because I had never done this before was the reason why Moaning Myrtle was actually freaking out.
So, I took action – and i jumped. And because I did – next time I jump, I will feel less nervous as I have experience and proof that I’ll survive.
Optimism really helps!
It is a matter of reframing what’s going on in your head, being that glass half-full person, rather than the glass half-empty. It’s less exhausting when you aren’t always looking for stuff to fail or go wrong. Without taking unnecessary and foolhardy risks – life can be a lot more fun if you look on the bright side.
Your thoughts become your behaviour. Your thoughts become your actions.
So if you are someone who :
✖️Is not looking after themselves,
✖️has so much negativity running around in their heads,
✖️isn’t practicing self care,
then, life is likely to feel like a real struggle. What you focus on, you attract. SO it stand to reason that you may as well start filling your head with the good stuff rather than the bad stuff.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
When you compare yourself to others you are robbing yourself. Comparisons start to create toxicity in your mind. You start running stories of not being good enough and not having enough. We begin to ignore what we have and focus on what we don’t have.
By concentrating on someone else’s photoshopped and filtered technicolour world, we are inadvertently making comparisons to our monochrome mundanity. This skews everything and puts our lives all out of perspective and we fail to appreciate what we’ve got that’s right in front of us.
How to we change this and find the positives again?
The answer is Gratitude. Gratitude is the granddaddy of all self development and self care tools.
I propose you go to bed each night – and just before you turn out the light – list 5 things that you are grateful for.
They don’t have to be as earth shattering as World Peace – but list 5 things that make you feel thankful. This shapes your mind into thinking positive thoughts just before you go to sleep; and you’ll soon find that you start sleeping better.
Following that – when you wake up in the morning, list five more things you are grateful for. Again this gets things into perspective – and I guarantee you’ll start seeing a real difference to your way of thinking. It’s a great way to develop a more positive outlook on life.
When you’re thankful, you appreciate what you’ve got. And as I said earlier
Your Thoughts Become Your Behaviour.
Your Thoughts become Actions.
Happiness is a choice. Gratitude is a technique to get there and if you do nothing else, do that. Because when you start looking at what you’re grateful for, more of that stuff starts to show up.
As always – please drop any questions in the COMMENTS box below.
I have a video series on YouTube : Take Care of Yourself.
Have a look here for the SECOND episode on Putting Yourself First : CLICK this link or the image below.
If you want to keep this conversation going – why not come and join my facebook group : PARENTS : Teen Toolbox ™️.
It’s full of like-minded parents wanting the best for their kids.