When it comes to living a balanced life, learning how to focus on yourself is key to unlocking inner peace and true physical well-being. Keep reading to learn about benefits that come from focusing on yourself, including exercises to help increase self-love.
by Stacy Mosel, LMSW
Living a balanced life is the key to unlocking inner peace and cultivating optimal physical and emotional well-being, but let’s be honest, between balancing multiple responsibilities and dealing with day-to-day stress, it’s not always easy to keep things on an even keel.
Despite our best efforts, stress and family or work responsibilities often take over and we might forget to focus on ourselves, make sure our needs are met, or even just feel good about who we are. Sometimes, we even feel selfish or guilty if we put ourselves first, but that can lead to a downward spiral of resentment toward others and decreased well-being.
Why is it so important to learn how to feel good about yourself, and how can you do so? Keep reading to learn more about how to focus on yourself so you can gain a greater sense of inner peace and balance.
The Benefits of Focusing on Yourself
We’ve all heard the expressions that you can’t love another person if you can’t love yourself or that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. Think of the pre-flight announcements that tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping another person. It’s the same with daily life. If you’re feeling depleted, run down and burnt out, you’re not going to be the happiest person to be around, and you’re probably going to feel resentful or at least reluctant to help or care for anyone else.
Remember that this is your one and only life, and no one is going to live it for you. Research has suggested that some of the benefits of self-care and focusing on yourself include:
- Improved physical and emotional health.
- Improved well-being.
- Better resilience.
- Improved ability to cope with stress.
- A longer life.
Techniques To Help You Focus on Yourself
We’re not always taught how to feel good about ourselves; plus, when we feel stressed, focusing on ourselves is often one of the first things to go out of the window. Here is a list of five of the best techniques to help you get started.
1. Figure Out What You Want
Some of us get stuck when it comes to figuring out what we want. But it’s usually no problem to figure out what we don’t want; so start by making a list of those things. Then you can say to yourself, “OK, what would I prefer instead?” Give yourself some time to really think about this question and write down whatever comes to mind. What would bring you a sense of greater happiness? You can use a journal or this worksheet as tools to help you with this exercise.
2. “Who Am I?” Exercise
There are many ways to increase self-awareness, but this is one of the best exercises you can do if you have difficulty connecting with your feelings or feel as though your life isn’t in alignment with your values. The “Who Am I?” worksheet from Positive Psychology asks you to answer different questions to help you “view yourself clearly, from your values, desires, and passions, to your moods, beliefs, thoughts and feelings.” It is designed to give you an opportunity for self-introspection, which is vital for developing self-love.
3. Self-Love Meditation
Practicing self-love meditation regularly can help you create a greater sense of self-compassion and enhance feelings of well-being. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and take several deep, slow breaths. Notice where you feel tension and try to release it on the out breath. Then place your hands over your heart and tune in to how you are feeling in this moment. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” and listen to whatever arises. Until the timer goes off, keep repeating to yourself, “I am worthy; I am enough; I am complete,” and imagine a pure white light of love flowing into your heart.
4. Tune in To Your Body
Most of us live the whole day in our heads, and we can lose touch with the signals our bodies are trying to give to us to let us know what we really need. For example, even when you feel tired and know you need a nap or a full night of sleep, you might keep pushing through anyway, despite feeling cranky or worn out. Or if you’re feeling sore after a workout, you might not take the time to relax and soothe your muscles so they’re better able to repair before your next gym session.
Give yourself a few minutes throughout the day to just sit, close your eyes and ask your body what it needs, and then listen to those messages. To help you along, we suggest trying one of our Ayurvedic remedies that are amplified with CBD to promote wellness and address many common physical and emotional needs.
5. Set Healthy and Realistic Goals
Research has shown that setting and achieving your goals helps improve self-esteem and resilience; accomplishment is also one of renowned psychologist Martin Seligman’s five elements of well-being, known as PERMA, which also include positive emotion, engagement, relationships, and meaning and purpose. Goal setting can give you a greater sense of well-being.
We often have good intentions when it comes to goal setting, but just telling yourself that you want to achieve something often isn’t enough to make it happen; you need to actually write down goals in a way that makes them clear and achievable. The researchers Peter Drucker and G.T. Doran are credited with developing the SMART model of goal setting, which is a widely accepted way to achieve goals.
Goals should be:
- Time bound.
For example, it’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” You need to be specific and say how much weight you want to lose, make sure it’s a reasonable goal so you can achieve it, and outline a specific date for when you expect this to happen.
Focusing on yourself might not be easy at first, but the more you practice these exercises the better equipped you will be able to cultivate self-love, focus on what you want, and feel good about yourself. At the Root of It All, we’re committed to helping you focus more on yourself and be more conscious about what you need, so be sure to check out our blog to obtain more wellness insights and get additional inspiration.
Stacy Mosel, LMSW, is a health and wellness writer as well as a licensed social worker, yoga enthusiast, certified Reiki practitioner and musician. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999 and a Master of Social Work from New York University in 2002.