Mind-Body-Spirit

4 Simple Tips For A Better Relationship With Yourself

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

There’s no doubt about it: good relationships with others enrich our lives. But have you ever thought about your relationship with yourself? Our busy lifestyles often make it difficult to put our own needs first, but having a good relationship with yourself and practicing self-care can improve your overall well-being.

“Having a good relationship with yourself is one of the best ways to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes,” says Rachel S. Lee, M.D., primary care physician at Henry Ford Health System. “Being good to yourself also reduces stress, which is great for your heart.”

Follow these four simple tips to practice self-care and cultivate a good relationship with yourself:

  1. Eat mindfully: This approach improves your relationship with food by making you mentally present so you can experience more with each bite. “Eating is very much a part of your relationship with yourself,” Dr. Lee says. “A more mindful approach includes thinking about how and why you eat.” Instead of letting your mind wander, make it a point to appreciate how foods smell, how the textures feel in your mouth and – of course – their flavor. These practices help you stay in tune with how the food makes you feel. Mindful eating also helps you detect sensations of fullness earlier so you can avoid overeating.
  1. Try something new: Learning how to knit or getting a new haircut can help you get to know yourself in new ways. “When you try something new, you often get a sense of accomplishment that’s just not there when you’re doing the same thing day after day,” Dr. Lee says. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence since it takes a little bravery to step outside your comfort zone.
  1. Meditate: Taking steps to periodically still your mind and body is a great way to honor your relationship with yourself. Not only will you reduce stress, you may lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Meditating can also help you get more restful sleep each night. Dr. Lee recommends the loving-kindness mediation technique. “This practice is thousands of years old and you can do it in hardly any time at all,” she says. To get started, take slow, deep breaths while directing love toward yourself. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge the things and people that are causing negativity in your life and direct loving, peaceful energy toward them.
  1. Live an active lifestyle: When you get moving, you tap into positive vibes while doing something good for your body. Being physically active releases chemical messengers (endorphins), that can lift your mood and make you feel great.

Maintaining some form of regular physical activity – like walking – can help you relieve stress and feel more optimistic no matter what life throws at you. The physical benefits of exercise, including strong bones and a healthy heart, also help you live your life to the fullest.

Having a good relationship with yourself does not need to be time consuming. Even if you only have a few minutes, investing it in yourself can help you look and feel your best.

Make an appointment by visiting henryford.com or calling 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Dr. Rachel Lee is a board certified family physician and sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Center – Harbortown.

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