I just started another 6-week stress and anxiety relief program on Thursday nights. During these classes I always like to introduce both yogic practices and also philosophies to give students a full understanding of how yoga can help alleviate stress. Last night we opened the class with a discussion on Ahimsa (non-harming). Now even if you're not suffering from stress or anxiety, you probably find yourself having negative thoughts and maybe beating yourself up over something you did or said. Those of us with stress and anxiety do this times 10! So it felt fitting to start off the program with the idea of being nice to ourselves.
So what do you do to treat yourself well and remind yourself you're worth it? Here are some things I do for myself that I find super comforting and help keep me in check when I find myself going overboard with the mental punches.
* take to my journal and jot down all the things i'm grateful for and proud of myself for accomplishing
* treat myself to a night of my favorite tv shows, a decadent dessert, hot bath, a day in bed with a stack of new books or a martini
* if it's a nagging doubt that i'm having, i keep pushing until i succeed
* i sit in meditation and focus on how far i've come, from being afraid to leave my apartment to growing my own business and making it a habit to step outside my comfort zone
we talked about tallying negative thoughts. grab a piece of paper, business card or notepad and just make a small tally mark for each negative thought you catch yourself having. I'm betting you'll be surprised by the number at the end of the day. Cultivate awareness and keep track of these thoughts, when you tend to have the most negative thoughts and what they center around.
Then, create the opposite thought and feeling. Inhale that opposite emotion all the way into your heart. Treat yourself to something today. We're so worth it!
picture: peaceful spring, philip matthews