What do you like to do when it’s just you and your mind – that doesn’t involve numbing out in front of a screen (yeps, I went there).
Don’t get me wrong, watching the tubes or checking up on the latest happenings via social media is relaxing in its way, and for some, even inspiring. But even for those, taking a step away from the screens is crucial for keeping a great relationship with yourself.
A relationship with yourself? Sounds a bit woo-woo, sure. Perhaps think of it this way – When’s the last time you thought about what your favorite color is? Thought about it, not just answered with yellow because that’s what you liked in 2nd grade. Or what your favorite food is? Or who is your go-to author? Let’s take it a step further. When’s the last time you thought about how you feel? Or considered a reaction you had towards something that maybe you didn’t like – and looked for reasons why? Or thought about your goals, your path, and re-affirmed they still aligned what you want.
Having an on-going relationship with yourself is the best way to stay connected to what you want out of life, to keep a hold on the type of person you want to be. Sure, there are times that a deep connection is restored suddenly or out of the blue – like a job loss, loss of a family member, or divorce. But what if you could keep that connection going? Not being hit on the side of the head with it every few years and end up making serious life changes. What if you could make small adjustments every month or so, and build a stronger sense of self along the way? How strong could you become? How sure and confident of what you are doing could you be? Of course, no one knows for sure as the answers are different for everyone, but I’m going to hazard a guess that you, your mind, your soul, would become nearly unstoppable.
Now that I’ve got you thinking about the possibilities, you might be thinking “How in the world do I build, or maintain, a relationship with myself?” Well, again, the answer will be different for everyone, but the main objective is the same – find a way to talk to yourself. Not sure how to do that? Here are some suggestions:
Go on a hike: Or do anything outside really. Going on a hike/walk/run/bike ride is an excellent way to step away from your regular duties of life, think, and ponder. Getting outside also gives you a chance to increase your Vitamin D (if it’s a sunny kinda day) which has been shown to boost your mind and reduce fatigue and anxiety. Studies have also shown an increase of creativity – which could be used to assist in planning your goals for yourself – from spending just 15
minutes outside. Crazy!
Go on a date with yourself: Literally. Go to that new restaurant that you’ve wanted to try, watch that movie that you’ve wanted to see but can’t get any of your friends to go with you, go to that new boutique. Explore your world a little, see what’s out there. Could be new friends, finding a new passion, or discovering a fantastic coffee shop for you to sit and chill at – all of which bring you closer to knowing what you truly do and don’t like.
Journal: Remember that diary that you had in middle school that proclaimed your love for Josh on one page followed by a declaration of hate two pages later? Things may not be that dramatic anymore (or maybe they are – who’s to say) but writing things down is still a great way to get the jumble of thoughts out of your brain so you can find solutions, or even get a deeper understanding of what’s going on. You don’t have to be a good writer – those pages are for you and you alone. Just start writing. Seriously, it’s called a flow of consciousness, and all it involves is writing whatever pops into your head. No editing or second guessing. You might be amazed at what pops out. Or if you are of a more organized sort that likes to track things, you can try bullet journaling.
If writing is still just not your thing, you can try art journaling – essentially drawing or using clips from magazines etc. – if your mind thinks in images. Whatever the method, journaling with no filters is a beautiful way to visually see what is going on in the deepest parts of your mind. It might also allow you to pinpoint triggers for behaviors you don’t like, and think about ways for you to handle them better.
Meditation: This is probably the last self-talk method, and most difficult. Sitting, by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts sounds a bit daunting, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. There are so many ways to meditate – some don’t even involve sitting! There is a wide array of helpful tools out nowadays – apps, books, CD's, etc. – if you are unsure of how to get started. With so many methods, don’t get discouraged if you feel it isn’t “working.” Keep trying. Even five minutes a day can be a game changer for some.
Of course, there are many other ways for you to begin a more consistent, more aware, relationship with yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and keep trying. Developing a real connection with yourself is that important. Once you have that connection (even if it came via a much less enjoyable method), maintain it. You will be so much stronger as an individual, and more resilient to all that life is going to throw your way.
Brittnie | Contributor