Do you struggle with mild depression on a daily basis? For instance do you:
- Lose interest in your day-to-day activities
- Experience feelings of hopelessness
- Find it really hard to have fun
- Find it hard to be productive
If so, you may be suffering from persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia. What you need to know is that persistent mild depression is caused by neurological conditions in your brain that could be either genetic, learned or developed due to the experience of trauma.
The bottom line is that until you influence your brain chemistry, there’s little chance that the condition will spontaneously improve.
There are several ways to influence your own brain chemistry, some of which are very easy, like boosting your endocannabinoid system with CBD tincture or CBD pills.
Other ways take a bit more effort but are worth it for your long-term well-being. For example, you can radically improve your quality of life by developing new skills that trigger and sustain key hormones in the brain like serotonin and dopamine.
A widely under-rated skill to aid in combating depression is SELF-LOVE. There is a societal misunderstanding that self-love is something you either have or don’t have, when in truth, self-love is something we can all learn like driving a car or playing the piano.
So how do we skill up on self-love?
The following 4 strategies will boost your self-love to give you the mood boost you need!
1. Spend TIME in stillness with YOU!
You can whomp up some serious self-worth by spending a mere 5-10 minutes a day hanging out in stillness with yourself. Technically you could call this meditation, but it’s really just sacred time PAYING ATTENTION to YOU! Usually we have barely woken and our attention is all over the place, fretting and planning the day. Imagine you are in a marriage with yourself. What would it feel like to your partner if you woke up every morning and didn’t even look at them, never mind saying “good morning” or asking how they slept or how they feel today? You want to treat the first few moments of your day as time to deeply connect with yourself. To put yourself first, tune in and acknowledge yourself – fill your own cup through the simple act of paying attention. With a full cup you can go about your day with much more calm, ease, peace and self-love.
2. Align with your core values.
Wise Socrates once said: Know Thyself. And brilliant Shakespeare wrote: To Thine Own Self be True. For strong self-love and self-worth we want to take a page out of their books and follow this combo of sage advice! You have got to know thyself before you can be true to thyself! It took me decades to discover this self-love secret! Before I actually sat down with myself and got honest about my deepest values, I had no compass to follow in my life. I just spun through each day, doing what what other people thought was best for me. Uncovering my core values of freedom, family, exploration and peace (there are more but these are the top ones!) was revolutionary for me. Suddenly I could hold every piece of my life up to these values and see if I was aligned to them. What was NOT aligned, I could let go of – this included people, places, things, and paths I was on! I finally trusted myself with my life and my choices, which is a critical precursor to self-love!
3. Listen to your body.
From the age of about 5 years old we learn this really bad habit of listening to the mind. And we lose touch with the most precious source of guidance we have: our body. Our mind is where our survival instinct lives, so it is the source of fear, worry, doubt, judgement and self-hate. Our body has within it the outlet to our deepest divine self, our soul…our connection to the Creator. When we listen to our mind all the time it is like we are listening to the little devil on our shoulder, the devil that screams with negative self-talk that it learns from the world around. When we close our eyes and drop down to the center of our body we can hear the whisper of God, our intuition our most excellent guidance. This whisper never judges or doubts, it is your biggest champion and fan. It always has soothing messages of love and encouragement. It is messaging you all the time, giving you cues about when to stop and rest. BUT, it is quiet and so often drowned out by our loud mind. Place you hand on your heart and and ask your body what it wants you to know right now.
4. Draw lines in the sand.
One of the greatest acts of self-love is boundary setting: saying “no” to what is not in alignment with your truth and also saying a big “yes” to what is! Without boundaries we are leaking our energy all over the place, we are spinning around like leaves in the wind. It’s exhausting and easy to become angry and resentful at yourself and others. Allowing yourself to be stuck in exhaustion and negative emotions are acts of self-destruction. There’s no faster way to deplete self-love and self-worth than this. Setting strong boundaries is actually a skill. It is something that if we have not been taught we must learn for ourselves, because it’s not a natural tendency for most of us. Once you know what your values are it is much easier to create boundaries for yourself. the next time you are asked to do something, see if it honors your values in any way and if it doesn’t, practice lovingly saying “I’m sorry, I can’t.”
5. Flirt with yourself.
Don’t forget to wink at yourself in the mirror daily and say something loving like: you ROCK sister, or I just LOVE you!
You’ve probably noticed that all of these strategies are connected. The more you use one the more it supports the other three. Start with #1 and #2 right away to fertilize your life with self-love starting today…and watch your energy, confidence and joy come into full bloom!