September is “National Self Improvement” month. Although most of us are constantly striving to improve ourselves, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge or reminder to help move us forward to living the life we want to live.
Here are some areas my clients frequently mention when they are focusing on self-improvement and self-care:
Get some sleep: We all feel better after a good nights’ sleep, right? Well, what else does it do for us other than make us feel good?
- Saves calories: Well-rested people eat an average of close to 300 calories per day.
- Makes your brain more efficient at recall: When we sleep, our brain sorts through all the information it took in for the day, making it easier to recall the important stuff.
- Heals you from the inside out: While sleeping, our brain triggers the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth.
Forgive someone, possibly yourself: I find forgiveness to be a learned skill that I’m constantly working on. I know that harboring resentment does more damage to my personal well-being than the actual indiscretion. According to Dr. Judith Orloff “Forgiveness does more for you than anyone else because it liberates you from negativity and lets you move forward.” Whom do you need to forgive to move forward?
Create silence for 10 minutes a day: Think about it: how many waking minutes do you spend in silence each day? We get up and turn on the TV or radio while we get ready. We get in the car and turn on the radio. During the day we are on the phone, listening to piped-in music, having meetings, etc. Then, we get back in our cars and listen to the radio, and come home and turn on the TV. Very little of our day is in silence. In 2011 the World Health Organization published a report concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” Silence helps our brains relax.
Get physical: Make an effort to move a little every day. Even just a little bit pays off. I’ve written a previous blog about this and I know it’s more difficult for some to schedule than others (I’m in awe of all you working moms and dads!), but the benefits of even a few minutes every day pays off both physically and emotionally.
Get social: Social connections and overall happiness go hand-in-hand. Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, two pioneers of positive psychology, conducted a study in 2002 at the University of Illinois. The results showed that the most common characteristic of students who were very happy and showed the fewest signs of depression were “their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.”
What would you like to work on during “National Self Improvement Month?”