In the midst of our hectic lives, it can be hard to remember to take some time to sit back and appreciate who we are and what we have accomplished. The movement of loving yourself more could not come at a better time. The concept of self-love is gradually becoming destigmatized. No longer is it seen as a selfish concept, but an essential and healthy one.

A lot of loving yourself is learning how to treat your body and mind with the respect they deserve. Luckily, with only a few simple steps, you can be well on your way in your journey of self-love.

Here are 7 ways to start loving yourself more:

Get Active

Hours of binge-watching on the couch may seem relaxing and rejuvenating. In reality, it will just make you feel sluggish and unproductive later. Multiple studies have linked regular exercise to building self-esteem and self-confidence. Even just 15 minutes of cardio could help your body release cortisol, a hormone that builds up when you are feeling stressed. Not only can exercise help clear your mind, it can eventually help tone your body. When you look and feel better, there is no question that you will love yourself a little more.

Eat Right

Your mind and body are also largely affected by the kinds of foods you fuel up with. Eating lots of processed junk food will not give you the sustained energy you need to tackle your day. To treat your body right, give it necessary vitamins and nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. And if you think superfood and super expensive are synonymous, think again.

Practice Self-Praise

Too often we are so wrapped up in our own faults and failures that we forget to recognize all of our attributes and successes. Instead of wallowing in self-criticism, work on practicing self-praise. Try to keep a journal with an ongoing list of your daily accomplishments, however big or small they may seem. On those days when you feel discouraged, this journal will be a great mood boost. Loving yourself is taking conscious time to recognize and celebrate your successes.

Don’t Forget to Play

Playing should not only be reserved for children. It is important for all ages to work in some play daily. Along with bringing some more fun into our lives, playing can help boost creativity, relationships, and problem-solving skills. For some, play may be reading a good book, while for others it could be a board game or a sport. If you are unsure of what to do, think back on your days as a kid and try to remember what you did for fun. Maybe a half an hour of coloring is all you need to give yourself a little pick-me-up.

Take Time to Unwind

When you are stressed out from work, relationships, or whatever else, the stress can quickly overwhelm you and lead to negative thoughts about yourself. As much as you may want to succeed, no one can sustain fully committing themselves to something for an extended period of time. Allow some time every day to prioritize your well being. It could be as simple as taking a walk among the trees or simmering down on your favorite chair with a steaming mug of tea.

Eliminate the Negativity

As important as it is to clear our minds of negativity, the people we interact with can have a large impact on ourselves. To truly focus on loving yourself, you need to rid yourself from the toxic distractions of those who make you feel bad or uncomfortable. Others’ unwanted words can make you doubt your goals or values—things that only you should ultimately decide upon. Whenever possible, drift away from or break up with friends that fill you with self-doubt. You may also want to unsubscribe from family members’ negative social media posts.

loving yourself

Trust Yourself

Loving yourself and trusting yourself go hand in hand. Every decision we make can have an impact on our happiness and well-being, so how can you ensure that you choose the right one more often than not? The answer is to trust your intuition. Yes, that little gut feeling really does know more than you think. You might need to learn to listen and obey its wishes more often. When you make decisions that your deepest self morally stands behind, you are automatically living a more authentic and self-loving life.

When you choose to prioritize loving yourself, you may soon find other outer aspects of your life falling into place. Your inner positivity and assurance will radiate out and subtly influence other people and situations to turn out more positively. The domino effect is very real, and it all starts with a healthy dose of self-love.

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