Self-improvement is something I am hugely keen on. I believe there are many ways in which we can better ourselves – from tiny tweaks, to huge overhauls.
Over the last few months I’ve been reading a lot about self-improvement, mindfulness and general ways in which to live a better life. Each book and article really made me think, but one particular meeting has essentially consolidated my thoughts and beliefs. I recently had afternoon tea at The Lanesborough with Katie Brindle, a Chinese Medicine expert and the founder of the Hayo’u Method. I left feeling so inspired and empowered, so I thought I would share it with you.
Katie mentioned that stress is the root of most (if not all) ailments, and that therefore a stress-free life would be a long and healthy one. She also mentioned that beauty and a glowing complexion is the result of good health; thus suggesting that a reduction in stress would result in good health and beautiful skin. This is a very basic summary, but I have to admit that I largely agree and I believe it has a fair amount of truth to it.
1. Reducing Stress:
Negative things happen constantly, but they don’t necessarily cause stress – the way in which you interpret the situation and react results in stress. Therefore, adapting your mindset can reduce stress. Have a think about what is important to you, then realise that most situations are not the end of the world. Learn to let things go.
This of course is much easier said than done, but I’ll show you an example…
Something I get stressed about it time-keeping – I hate being late. So, when something happens to delay my routine, I quickly feel annoyed and very stressed. So when I’m starting my length commute to London for work and my train is delayed, I feel stressed. But, instead of thinking ‘this is unfair’, ‘I’m going to be late for work’, ‘I’m getting so cold waiting on the platform’, ‘now I won’t manage to get a seat when the train finally arrives’ etc. I should think ‘Yes, the train is delayed and I am likely to be late for work, but it really isn’t the end of the world. I will get there eventually, I have a very understanding boss who won’t be annoyed, I can do extra work another time to compensate for my late arrival, and I don’t need a seat on the tube as I’ll be sat down all day anyway!’
I know this is only a minor stressor, but the idea can be applied to most situations. Try to see the positives and let everything else go.
2. Improving Fitness:
Unless you’re a milt-award-winning athlete, the chances are that you can always improve your fitness levels. Personally, I have no desire to have a six-pack or take part in the Olympics any time soon, but I would like to feel more fit and healthy.
Last year I discovered Aerial Hoop and Aerial Silks – incredibly hard, but both hilariously fun! The only downside for me was that after each class, I was left covered in bruises and had pulled most muscles in my body! Before Christmas, I tried a Hot Yoga at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, St Albans which was fantastic. I attended an introductory class, and left feeling so positive, peaceful and having had a good workout – definitely something I would like to they more of this year! So this year, I am going to try some new classes and work on my fitness levels!
3. Keep Learning:
Read, ask questions, attend classes or teach yourself something new every day. Whether it be the meaning of a word you haven’t come across before or learning a new skill, try to stay open-minded and observe as much as you can. You don’t have to believe everything you read, hear or see, but take it on board and form your own opinion. Never stop learning! Amongst a handful of skills, I’m keen to learn more of the Spanish language… wish me luck!
4. Face Your Fears:
Everyone has fears, and to an extent they can protect you from danger, but they can also hold you back from reaching your full potential. Try to face your fears head on, you’ll never know where it could take you! It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and grow.
5. Stay Focused:
A goal is only a wish unless you work for it. Stay focused on your goals by using to-do lists with smaller tasks to keep yourself on track. It’s a great way to keep an eye on your progress, encourage you to keep working hard and the satisfaction of crossing a task off is fantastic!
6. Acknowledge your Strengths and your Flaws:
Everyone has flaws, but everyone has talents too. It’s important to recognise and understand them so you can learn how to address them.
7. Surround Yourself with Positive People:
It has been said that ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’, so make sure you surround yourself with people you consider to be good. Wherever we go, there are bound to be negative people, but don’t spend too much time around them if you feel that they drag you down. Surround yourself with people who inspire you.
8. Start a Journal:
Journaling is a great way to improve your self-awareness. Whether it’s an online blog or a private notebook, journaling is essentially a self-reflection process which can help to provide insight into yourself. Use it to clarify your thoughts and learn more about yourself.
9. Reduce the Time you Spend in Front of a Screen:
Whilst there is endless information online, incredible films of TV and people to talk to on your phone, remember to take some time away from screens. Whether it is spending time outside in nature, exploring local places or simply at home with your loved ones, you may find yourself a lot happier when you explore the other joys of life.
Meditation can help to calm you and to be more self-aware. I shall talk more about meditation another time, but it can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine, costs nothing and can take only 5 minutes per day!
11. Let Go of the Past:
Holding on to grievance or unhappiness from the pass can prevent you from moving on and becoming a better person. Try to break away from your past, forgive yourself and move on. It can feel truly liberating and empowering and improve happiness.
12. Show Kindness:
Many of us don’t show enough kindness to those around us, but being kind can cultivate other qualities such as compassion, patience and love. Notice how people react when you show kindness and notice how you feel as you behave kindly to others too.
Are you going to try some self-improvement this year?
Coat – Primark
Jumper – New Look
Jeans – ASOS
Boots – Tesco
Bag – Osprey
Photography – Lucy Gregory