Me

Me

 

Why Study This Mantra...

You will learn to measure how healthy you currently are with loving yourself... and what you can do about the results.

"Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, ‘I am lucky to be what I am!..."
Dr. Seuss

Introduction 

In order to have a constructive relationship with others, you must first have one with yourself. 

Your attitude toward yourself will inevitably influence every aspect of your life. Having a good attitude can center you in your life purpose, help you accept your own weaknesses, and develop self-compassion as you tackle life's biggest challenges. In short, it can make you more positive, confident, and resilient. 

It may seem curious to put this focus-on-yourself mantra in the "connection" category, but it is a prerequisite. The happier we are, the happier we make others. The higher our own well-being, the stronger our social relationships and our altruistic behavior. 

This month, you will learn where your self love is healthy and where it isn't. You'll take steps toward improving it. You'll learn to find time to do so.

Before you begin...

Before you start thes practices and challenges, take a moment to rate yourself on this mantra. Give yourself a score from 1-10 (10 being the highest). 

Do this again at the end of a month of practices and challenges. How much have you grown? 

The Practices

Daily Practice

Me First

Today's affirmation: "I am enough. My imperfections make me unique and special."

I vow to create "me" time today. My mantra on my wrist will serve as my reminder. This can be whatever works for me for this day. It might be a relaxation exercise or meditation, something nourishing like reading my favorite author, doing an activity that brings me true joy, or just cuddling with my pet. 

This month, each time I look at my wrist, I will be reminded to ask myself, "Is what I'm thinking helping or harming me? Is what I'm doing helping or harming me?" 

Monthly Challenge

Kill a Bad Habit

Before you can complete this challenge, you must first do the Self-Love Assessment. So complete that early in the month. Once complete, you'll choose one statement for the month to focus on. 

Find the statements where you drift closest to the "strongly disagree" side of the assessment. These are the key statements for you to focus on this month to increase your self love. Pick the one that speaks to you the most. Start with only one.

Now, act on it. Think about how you might improve your score on this statement. What actions can you take immediately? What can you do every day that will create a new behavior? What commitment instruments can you put in place to make sure you're reminded of and continue to perform the changed behavior? Once you've answered these questions, put the answers to work for this month's challenge.

Guided Journaling

Self-Love Assessment (The Bad Habit Finder)

In my journal, I will rate myself on the following metrics, from 1 to 10, strongly disagree to strongly agree. I will jot down any thoughts I have about each.

  1. I am mindful of who I am. I act on that mindfulness, rather than acting on what others want of me.
  2. I act on what I NEED to stay strong and centered, not on what I WANT, or what just feels good.
  3. I practice good self-care, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, and healthy social interactions
  4. I set boundaries. I don't allow into my life people, work, or activities that harm or drain me physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
  5. I forgive myself when I make mistakes. 
  6. I know my purpose and my life design and I live it.
  7. I regularly take time for myself.
  8. I engage in positive self-talk.

Pencils down. How did I score?

Each night this month, I will choose one of these metrics which I rated low to focus on. I will meditate on it. I will ask myself what's getting in my way of having a higher score on that metric. I will ask myself what I can do to overcome that hurdle.

The Reasoning

Putting the "Me" in "Time"

In a busy, sometimes chaotic world, it can be tempting to focus on the well-being of others at the expense of focusing on yourself. Kids, partners, coworkers and daily responsibilities can absorb so much time and energy that making time for yourself may appear impossible.

By hanging onto this approach, we sacrifice sustained altruism over a lifetime in favor of short-term bursts of altruism. One primary outcome is burnout, which is why we’re focused on “me-time” this month.

Research has shown negative correlations between self-care and burnout, with a particular emphasis on self-care agency (the human’s ability or power to engage in self-care)(1). The good news is that you’ve already shown your willingness and ability to engage in building a better you by participating in the Bodhi Band program! All that’s left to do is get to work. 

Small Changes in How We Consume Can Impact Our Enjoyment

Imagine being able to improve the experience of consuming something while at the same time consuming less of it. Sounds impossible right? It’s not. There are some changes you can make right now that can increase your enjoyment of your favorite TV show, make the taste of your favorite flavor of ice cream even sweeter, and decrease the dissatisfaction of doing the dishes.

An economist would argue that maximizing the present value of an activity will drive the greatest amount of benefit for the consumer. Fortunately for humans, this isn’t always how the brain works. By adding delays to our consumption of things we enjoy (booking vacations in advance, planning a date with a loved one for next weekend, and limiting ourselves to one episode a week of our favorite show), we increase our overall satisfaction despite consuming the same amount (or sometimes even less) over time(2,3). This works because it reduces our hedonic adaptation (the natural adjustment of satisfaction to positive or negative changes in our life). Further support is the well-documented gradual decline in happiness growth once a certain level of income is reached. You likely also experienced this during the “Write Your Own Story” month because you were given more time to imagine how wonderful the future experience will be.

Conversely, this supports the notion that you should complete tasks that cause dissatisfaction right away. Don’t leave the dishes in the sink to pile up. Do them right away and enjoy the clean kitchen you’ll walk into every time! 

When you’re thinking about bad habits (maybe it’s binge-watching shows, eating too much candy, or not cleaning your room), apply the learnings above to reduce how often you’re eating that chocolate and you’ll enjoy it even more when you do decide to indulge! 

Focus on Inherent Preferences as Opposed to Learned Preferences

When you think about the habits you want to break and the behaviors you want to reinforce, take a moment to contemplate what type of behavior and preference this particular activity is. Professors Tu and Hsee have written on the distinction between what they refer to as inherent preferences vs. learned preferences (2,3). Inherent preferences are those that have evolved over long periods of time (preference for moderate temperatures as an example) as compared to learned preferences which are more recently developed and more dependent on social norms and local circumstances (home size and jewelry quality are some examples). Their findings indicate that learned preferences are more susceptible to hedonistic adaptation and inherent preferences are universal and more sustainable. 

When putting your me-time action plan together, try to incorporate behaviors and changes that focus on inherent preferences such as improving your social relationships, knowledge growth, physical fitness & healthy eating to maximize the long-term satisfaction you’ll gain from those experiences.

Add a Barrier Between You and Your Bad Habits

Let’s face it, many of our bad habits are rooted in convenience. The perception that it saves time to pick up fast food, that watching TV helps you fall asleep, or that checking your mobile phone every 5 minutes helps you be more efficient. In moderation, these behaviors can help us live better lives, but when taken to the extremes can absorb enormous amounts of mental energy and time.

When working to break a bad habit, it’s helpful to add a barrier between you and the habit. For example, if you watch too much TV, either unsubscribe from that streaming service or unplug the TV. If you’re eating too many sweets, start by throwing out all the sweets in the house so it’s much less convenient to grab a candy bar from the pantry. If you find yourself spending time surfing the internet on your phone before bed, plug in the phone on the opposite side of the room when you go to bed at night. 

Basic barriers can remove the convenience factor of the habits we want to break and allow us to take more control over our time, so take that first step right away and start living your best life!

Quality Over Quantity

When setting aside time for yourself, be sure to focus on quality as opposed to quantity. In a study by Dr Almuth McDowall, she determined that quality me-time led to better work-life balance and more engagement at work. Setting aside active recovery time (time spent doing things outside the normal daily behaviors including exercise and volunteering) best helps you to recharge(4).

Further Reading

In order to have a constructive relationship with others, you must first have one with yourself. Here are some tips to help you realize this goal(5).

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

For more information on unlocking your creativity by unplugging yourself from the hustle and bustle of technology, listen to this fascinating TED talk from Manoush Zomorodi(6).

https://www.ted.com/talks/manoush_zomorodi_how_boredom_can_lead_to_your_most_brilliant_ideas

References

  1. Hallam, K.T., Leigh, D., Davis, C., Castle, N., Sharples, J. and Collett, J.D. (2021), Self-care agency and self-care practice in youth workers reduces burnout risk and improves compassion satisfaction. Drug Alcohol Rev., 40: 847-855. https://doi.org/10.1111/dar.13209
  2. Tu, Y., & Hsee, C. K. (2018). Hedonomics: On subtle yet significant determinants of happiness. In E. Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay (Eds.), Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers. DOI:nobascholar.com
  3. Yanping Tu, Christopher K Hsee,Consumer happiness derived from inherent preferences versus learned preferences,Current Opinion in Psychology,Volume 10,2016,Pages 83-88,ISSN 2352-250X,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.12.013.(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X15003206)
  4. British Psychological Society (BPS). "Good quality me-time vital for home and work wellbeing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150107204555.htm>.
  5. Khoshaba, D., "A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love." Psychology Today. 27, March 2012. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love
  6. Zomorodi, M. (2017, April). How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas [Video]. TED Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/manoush_zomorodi_how_boredom_can_lead_to_your_most_brilliant_ideas