Tag: health

The truth about being kind to yourself

The truth about being kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself is hardly a new idea. The idea of loving-kindness is a central concept in mindfulness. Many of the latest trends in psychology (both genuine theories and woo-woo pop fads) also look at this idea of being kind to yourself.

A few months ago I had a chat with a close friend about just this topic. It came about because we spontaneously met for a cup of coffee.

[Side-note: this friend has uncanny timing. She called me up for said cuppa moments after I received discouraging news. Then, as I started writing the draft for this post, she got in contact again. Gotta be a sign?! Anyway, back to my point…]

We met at a new artisan cafe where they have a baker’s table that offers the most delectable teatime treats. Warning: smugness approaching… Our order did not feature any of these said delights, even though I have a sweet tooth to rival the best of ’em. She too was on a campaign to start eating healthily. It felt like an accomplishment – and for me, it was – to walk out of there without having dived into a sugary moment of deliciousness.

Our conscious effort to spurn the baker’s table got us talking. When we talk about being kind to ourselves it often involves something unhealthy – taking a rest from gym, ordering that slice of cake, enjoying just one more GnT in the evening, and so on. But really, when you stop to think about it, that’s being pretty unkind to yourself. Not only are you doing something that is physically unhealthy, but you are undermining your efforts to achieve your goals, to stay motivated, to stay on track, and to enjoy the results of your efforts.

I think that being kind to yourself is really about motivating yourself to stick to your goals, rather than allowing yourself the ‘treat’ of having a break from them. It just sets up the mindset that a reward consists of cheating on your goals, no matter what they are. If you want to boost your motivation, feelings of accomplishment, etc, then your reward should be something that is in line with your goals – something that will enable you to reap the results of your efforts to create a fulfilling life.

It’s all rather too easy to sit down and type this out. Tomorrow I’m going back to the same cafe… and I can already feel my motivation waning. After all, lemon meringue pie is my personal weakness. So I might find myself at this time tomorrow having to eat a slice of humble pie. Oh dear…

I’d love to know – what is your take on the idea of being kind to yourself?

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Silence Those Thoughts

Silence Those Thoughts

John says “Your Mind Must Be Empty.”

John is a local Chinese doctor who is developing quite the following in my sleepy city. Apparently we are waking up to the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine. As is typical of where I live, we are a little late in cottoning onto this source of knowledge. But hey, at least we’re catching up. Sort of.

One of John’s pearls of wisdom really struck me: the mind must be empty. And no, he was not suggesting that I adopt the airhead persona of a bottle-blonde bimbo. (At least I hope not. That would be a cringe-worthy blonde moment on my behalf, wouldn’t it?)

This idea of clearing your mind is supported by modern trends in psychology such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). John’s point was that holding onto negative thoughts and their resultant emotions will have a detrimental effect on your physical wellbeing. In other words, everything is connected.

This is not a new idea. Obviously. We all experience physical symptoms that are clearly connected to our cognitive and emotional states. But how often do we actually make a conscious effort to clear our minds? To just focus on simple daily tasks without a cacophony of thoughts invading our headspace? Not often.

There’s a real calm and peace that comes with spring-cleaning negativity from your mind. Keeping your thoughts in check keeps your emotional and physical states in check. It was profoundly useful to have that reminder of the importance of clearing the mind. John, I owe you one.