Have you ever noticed all the things we think about in a single day? We let our minds run wild with thoughts every day without any filter. Today, try to sit down and observe your thoughts. Notice how many of those thoughts are about you, your well-being and your happiness. If the answer is very few, then let’s learn a few ways you can start focusing more on yourself.
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Why is it important to focus on yourself?
When we talk about focusing on yourself, we are referring to understanding who you are and setting goals based on what is important to you. Often we can get lost and drowned in others’ opinions, thoughts, and emotions rather than focusing on our own, which can sometimes lead to seeing ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical way.
Focusing on yourself can lead to becoming more mentally strong and resilient, which can be especially helpful when life throws challenges at you which, let’s admit, can happen quite often.
8 tips on how to start focusing on yourself
1. Understanding yourself
It can be difficult to get to know yourself better, especially as it may mean thinking about yourself in a different way, but improving your self-awareness is a great way to focus on your well-being. You can be all the experiences you have gone through, all the books you’ve read, discussions you’ve had with people, the songs you listen to, and the ideologies you follow. You are your victories, your smile and tears. You are whoever you want to be.
“You are you. The best person to know you is – you.”
Often during these reflections, you might ask yourself: do you even matter? This question can trigger existential thoughts in many people, but it is important to address it nevertheless. There can be many reasons why you matter. Let’s list out a few.
- You are unique and there is only one of you.
- You have a lot of love to give. It’s not just about yourself but the relationships you have in your life—people who already love you and those you are yet to meet.
- You can play an important role in society. You can spread so much love, goodness, and happiness in your unique way.
In the end, you get to decide why you matter and what you can do about it.
2. Practise self-compassion
Have you ever noticed how you talk to yourself? What tone does your inner voice have? Is it kind or judgemental? Do you struggle with a lot of negative self-talk? If so, you are not alone. Let’s go through a few tips on how you can be kinder and more compassionate to yourself.
- Treat yourself the way you treat your loved ones. This also applies when you talk to yourself. Challenging your self-critical thoughts is key. Remember, thoughts are not facts.
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Mistakes are usually an opportunity to learn and grow. At the end of the day, you are only human and imperfectly perfect.
- Take out time for self-care practices on a regular basis. Learn to say no. Spend more time doing activities that make you feel positive and help you nurture your mind and body, whether it is listening to music, going for a walk, spending time in nature or journaling.
3. Reflect and challenge yourself
Self-reflection helps you understand your emotions, thoughts, reactions, and thereby, your strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas of improvement. It gives you a goal and a sense of yearning to improve. You can set small challenges for yourself and be a better version of yourself every day. Here are some ways in which you can try this.
- Keep a journal, whether it is on paper, a computer or even in the form of simple notes on your phone—do what works for you. Write down what you learned about yourself and what you did differently today. What was your motivation behind it? Start with a few journalling prompts if you are struggling to write.
- Focus on self-improvement and discipline. Compete with yourself. Do one thing better than yesterday. For example, you can wake up five minutes earlier than you did, eat one fruit, or do at least one act of kindness. These small steps can make a huge difference.
4. Avoid comparing yourself to others
Just like the way you are the best person to know yourself, remember that other people will also have their own struggles. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Everyone is on their own journey. It’s common to compare yourself to others but what you need to be aware of is how it is affecting you. Are you performing better or spiralling down in a comparison battle?
If you feel your surroundings are not helping you to be a better version of yourself, it might be time to change a few things. For instance, you can try to improve your online social media habits. You don’t have to quit social media entirely but cleaning up your social media feed can help. Unfollow or unfriend all those social media accounts that make you feel negative about yourself. You can follow @wysa_buddy for daily motivation tips.
5. Setting healthy boundaries
Building and maintaining healthy relationships is an integral part of our lives. Whether it’s your relationship with yourself, your friends, your parents or co-workers. However, our feelings and emotions can often take over and lead us to sacrifice certain things. If you feel like you do this, take a step back and consider setting some healthy boundaries, both with yourself and with the people in your life. These boundaries can be physical, mental or even financial.
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Here are some tips that can help:
Communicate or write down your boundaries very clearly.
Explain why you need this boundary and how it can help your relationship.
Acknowledge and identify if a boundary is violated and take necessary steps to manage it differently in the future.
6. Actively work on your self-esteem and confidence
There are times when someone may say something negative to you, or you might get rejected after a job interview. On such occasions, your self-esteem and confidence can take a hit. Yes, it does not make you feel good about yourself, but do not let this define your self-worth. These suggestions can help you improve your self-esteem and boost your confidence.
Practise positive self-talk with affirmations – This could be writing down what you like about yourself every day or giving yourself pep talks in front of a mirror.
Work on your physical health – Improving your physical health can have a huge impact on your mental health. Try to incorporate whatever form of workout you enjoy. It can majorly boost your confidence.
Try Wysa – Try relevant tool packs on Wysa for daily activities and exercises.
7. Cultivate gratitude
Psychologists Dr Robert A Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr Michael E McCullough of the University of Miami have done considerable research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week focusing on particular topics. After 10 weeks, those who practised gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Practising gratitude can improve your mental health and emotional well-being tremendously. Being grateful can seep into your daily life and help you have a more positive outlook. Here are some ways to go about this.
Incorporate gratitude in a way that works for you – Keep a gratitude journal, jar, post-it notes, whatever works for you. If you are an active Wysa user, you can also build your gratitude list on Wysa.
Set a time to practise your gratitude. Try to incorporate it into your self-care routine.
Use prompts – Add in a couple of gratitude prompts to keep things new and different.
8. Consider talking to a mental health professional
Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to make any progress. You may also simply feel too overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. In such a situation, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talking to your friends and close ones can help, but sometimes you may want to consider talking to a professional who can give you unbiased opinions and suggestions to improve your well-being.
If the thought of talking about yourself to someone face-to-face seems daunting, there are many other options available. For instance, virtual therapy sessions using chat, audio or video, and anonymous digital platforms are gaining popularity. Wysa is one such platform that offers both these services.
If you prefer to go on a self-help route, try out techniques like gratitude journalling and confidence submodality—these all are available on the Wysa app for free. They can help you chart a plan according to your needs and objectives.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to go about this journey. There will be ups and downs. Some things might work for you, and some may not. The only thing that you can try to keep consistent is focusing on yourself every day. Wake up with the intention of improving yourself and being better than yesterday. Some days you might do better than you expected and some days you may not, but that’s okay as you will learn more about yourself with every experience. Confide in your support system. Get up and do it again the next day. Serve yourself before you serve others.
Photo by Alex Green
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio