Tips to create more self-love and happiness. You matter.

Chatting with some very dear friends today and I mentioned my running experience this morning. I don’t always feel like going out for a morning run especially when its cold – but I do it because I have committed to myself that I will do a minimum of 20 minutes exercise everyday. I don’t like the feeling of not doing what I say I will so I do it. And I learnt that pain is inescapable – we either hurt as we think about the action before we do it – and then find a convincing excuse to not do it – or we feel it later on in the form of regret. I hate regretting stuff. I prefer to take a risk and get it wrong rather than be too cautious and end up missing out. So there is a whole other topic – FOMO – fear of missing out. Back to running –  when I am actually out the door, Runkeeper on, earphones in, motivational podcast on and I’m on the road I am already grateful I said yes to exercise right now. I actually really enjoy running – and what I really love is the feeling afterward! Nothing like natural endorphins – the feel good hormones flooding my body and mind – and they last for most of the day.

If you do not like running or exercise – think about activities that you really do like. When do you feel engaged and present and inspired?  Do these things regularly. Is it dancing? Writing? Connecting with friends? Cooking? Think about the questions that run through your mind before you begin that activity – what questions do you ask yourself as you get out of bed and get ready for work? Study? Community work? Exercise? Client call? What thoughts do you focus on? What do you feel?

Mike Dooley who write Notes from the Universe says ” I don’t like writing but I like having written”. I find this to be so true of many actions that are good for us. We know the guidelines for healthy eating and living and yet why does it seem so difficult often to make healthy choices.

Our brains are not naturally wired to look for the true, the good and the possible – that is for anything positive. Our brain’s first reaction is fight or flight to protect us – so the first response to stimulus is going to err on the negative. We need to retrain our brains to expect and see the positive. The good news is that today we know that our brains are plastic and can be remoulded. Daily conscious action can do this.

The word self-discipline conjures up different things for different people – for some it’s a form of self-love and they revel in it – for others it’s negative and punishing.

I think of it as punishment for something I have done wrong.  Do you think self-discipline is not for you because you don’t want to lose freedom and spontaneity? I want to do what I want when I want. I can’t stick to a schedule – I don’t want to be so rigid and controlled.

Wikipedia defines discipline as “the assertion of over more base desires, and is usually understood to be synonymous with self control. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for Motivation.” Another definition of discipline is that it is training to act in accordance with rules; drill. It’s activity, exercise or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer. Clearly a very old definition!

So food for thought – is discipline love or punishment for you? I wonder if we thought of self-discipline as a form of self-love. By that I mean when we do actions that we do not particularly like in themselves, but viewed them as ways to create love for ourselves – would that help us do more of the do that is good for us? What if we could develop the perspective that self-discipline is self-love. What if this creates an incredible impetus that literally throws us into positive action where the “doing the do” becomes truly effortless. Who would apply self-discipline willingly everyday then? And you know if you decide to give this a go you simply make a choice to see self-discipline as self-love.

When I am using my skills and attributes in activities that give me a sense of value and meaning and when the activity benefits the greater good than simply myself, this is when my gifts and blessings make sense. And this is when I am happiest. This is when I am living a heart-centred life and when the actions that may look like self-discipline are truly effortless. This is blissful living.

So what if a bit of extra daily self-discipline with some mindset tweaking is the start of creating a happier life? You matter. Your thoughts matter and the words you use to speak to yourself do create your reality. Be kind, be loving, take time to quieten your mind and sooth your aches and pains so you can hear what your heart is saying to you. Your heart is full of love – you simply need to connect with it more often. A little extra attention to yourself will help you love yourself a little more day by day.

Ponder on these 5 questions and see what ideas for new activities come to mind. Secondly, look out for the actions that are hurting you or stopping you from being happy that you can stop doing too:

#1 When you are feeling engaged, energised and enjoying life, what is happening?

#2 Are you doing what you do best each and everyday?

#3 If you could do what you do best more consistently – what might be possible?

#4 How can you move from where you are to where you want to be?

#5 If there was one action – just one – where would you be willing to start?

If you have found value in this article do share it with friends and encourage them to consider the adoption of looking at discipline as a way of creating a happier healthier more loving you. Simply do more of what makes you happy.