I have a self-care trick I’d like to share with you. It’s exceptionally simple, yet profoundly powerful. While it doesn’t eradicate all negative thoughts, it does give you the ability to choose what you pay attention to in a surprisingly effective way.
The Self-Care method:
Take two pieces of paper – it’s important to use actual paper and pen. You’ll see why in a moment.
On one, write: “Everything I hate and is wrong about my body.” On the other, write: “Everything that works about my body, what it gives me and allows me to experience (e.g., my heart pumps blood around my system, my skeleton keeps me upright, my hands are allowing me to write this note, my eyes allow me to see…).
Go wild. Fill out both with as much detail as you possibly can. Get extremely curious, spend a lot of time on these two bits of paper. Make sure you cover everything.
Put both pieces in front of you side by side. Notice that both are equally as valid as each other. You hate what you hate and your body does what it does. Neither one is more or less real than the other.
The Power of Self-Care
Here’s the powerful bit. Choose one to stick on the wall and read every day. Put the other in a drawer to be taken out and read in a years time.
This practice is not about trying to love yourself. It’s not about pretending negative thoughts don’t exist (they are noted down and tucked away, but they will arise in your mind from time to time). Instead, it gives your mind a clear directive about what you are choosing to focus on today.
Giving your attention every day to what works, what your body does, and what it makes possible for you creates a daily experience of gratitude.
While recovery is never the result of one trick, this small daily act of self-care can begin to build up and make the other tasks of recovery just that much easier.