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A Beginner's Guide To Really Loving Yourself

Only recently did I discover what it really means to "take care of yourself." It's been a long journey, and here are a few things I have done along the way.
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"Take care of yourself"--What does this really mean?

Throughout the busiest days and most challenging moments of my life, I always took good care of myself--on the outside. I exercised regularly, got a decent amount of sleep, ate a healthy diet, never smoked, never turned to alcohol. I did not have any vices at all, and my body was healthy. But no matter how many salads I ate and how many aromatherapy massages I got, I was still stressed out, resentful, worried, and quietly angry. Only recently did I discover what it really means to "take care of yourself." It's been a long journey, and here are a few things I have done along the way.

1. I made a mental and verbal commitment to take care of myself. It's so easy to forget ourselves when we are so busy worrying about others. Committing to the idea--even though I didn't yet have a concrete plan for how to follow through--got me halfway there.

2. I got lost. I traveled not to escape my reality but to reconnect with myself and to learn to enjoy my own company.

3. I practiced meditation. If you have no idea how, just simply spend a few minutes each day sitting still with your eyes closed and focus on your breath. There is no need to overanalyze it.

4. I celebrated my accomplishments with small rewards,instead of rushing to the next big thing.

<5. I started saying no to invitations to activities that didn't excite me,and told myself not to feel guilty about it.

Excerpted from "The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories & Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving," Tarcher Penguin Random House 2016. Check out the book for more tips on how to take care of yourself - especially when you are giving so much of yourself.