Can more self-love lead people to more easily become healthier? And if so, are Health Coaches the new and best-equipped professionals to offer support, guidance, and mindfulness practices to help people get there? Yes and yes! Let me tell you why.
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is defined as a regard for your own well-being and happiness. It also includes a state of self-appreciation that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth.
But at its core, self-love is a practice. It is a practice of choosing ourselves, putting ourselves first when possible, making ourselves important (and believing we are important!), and showing ourselves kindness and self-compassion.
It is also ultimately an ongoing conscious choice of things, people, and situations that are good, feel right and authentic, and serve us productively.
Self-Love and Health
A self-loving mindset switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation, thus creating space for regeneration and healing.
For many people looking to get healthier and revamp their diet and lifestyle, weight loss is at the top of their goal list. As you may know from ads on TV and social media, our modern-day diet industry features weight-loss techniques that restrict and deprive, confusing people as to why it is so hard to make changes. The rate of obesity and chronic illnesses continues to grow, and people are in search of help and resources that actually work to promote long-term health.
It often seems like people are willing to do or try anything to lose weight. But negative-inspired motivations may limit our innate power to choose health happily, triggering behaviors that stem from frustration. Cultivating a self-loving mindset can influence our subconscious toward health from a greater source of well-being and love.
Nutrition from a Self-Love Perspective
A self-loving approach toward nutritional and behavioral choices is based on the premise that we love ourselves. This includes increasing positive images of health and happiness, such as visualizing what it would look and feel like to reach desired health goals in a positive way.
Instead of focusing on the number on a scale, trying the next fad, following a yo-yo diet, or excessively working out, positive-inspired nutritional goals could include:
- Focusing on the benefits of healthy, whole foods
- Knowing your why and tapping into that vision for motivation
- Pausing and utilizing mindfulness, especially at mealtimes
- Retraining your mind to love what loves you back
A healthy lifestyle transformation is actually inspiring and energizing and should make you feel proud.
A Mindfulness Approach to Self-Love
One of the fastest, most direct routes to self-awareness and learning to truly love ourselves is meditation, which teaches us about mindfulness, forgiveness, compassion, and acceptance. A mindfulness practice involves focusing on the present moment and building an understanding of self as a process of awareness, thus helping direct the mind toward an enlightened self-view and attitude.
Meditation can benefit physical health in addition to mental and emotional health! Researchers at North Carolina State University found that to understand how mindfulness works in weight loss, it’s important to understand that any extra pounds people carry may have more to do with their brains than their stomachs. The goal achieved through mindfulness, researchers say, is to help people understand what's behind the urge to eat in order to create new healthier habits instead.
By understanding habits surrounding food and other behaviors, we can begin to explore the deeper motivation and notice why we're doing or eating certain things.
Habits of Self-Love Can Include:
- Appreciating all the body can do through a mindfulness practice
- Being around positive people
- Being careful not to spend too much time on social media
- Doing nice things for others
- Doing nice things for yourself
- Making a list of things you like about yourself
- Wearing clothes that feel good
When self-love grows as a new identity, healthier choices evolve more naturally. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, “Habits are the way we embody identity; and true behavior change is really identity change.”
As a Health Coach, I have witnessed how self-love mindfulness practices can help people create healthier habits. Taking a “let’s go inward” approach has become one of the most important focuses in my practice as I’ve realized that outer behaviors are mostly driven by internal influences. How we feel, what we tell ourselves, and how we want to feel are important factors when addressing behavior change. It is difficult for people to make changes through discipline alone. Encouraging moments in meditation, deep breathing, and self-reflection help people feel calmer and ultimately become more self-aware, which can inspire positive change.
Additionally, Health Coaches are trained in active listening and offer unconditional, nonjudgmental support, which also sends a message of love, creates healing, and opens space. Together, these areas soften the edges of self-criticism, which often leads to self-destructive behaviors.
In today’s new and uncertain world, tapping into our own healing abilities is crucial to surviving and ultimately thriving. Becoming more mindful and active in our own self-love and health can help diffuse the pain and anxiety around us. The external world is ever changing, and all we really can control is within ourselves. The more we cultivate self-love – as uncommon and perhaps unrelated as some people might think it is – the safer, healthier, and happier this world can be.