© 2019 Samantha Jenkins
It's common knowledge that taking time to care for your outer environment can help you feel more clear, calm, supported, and in control.
What's less well-known is that to STAY feeling good, you need to care for your INNER world too.
Because just like the external spaces of your life, your inner world's also prone to fill with clutter, mess, and chaos.
Only this time it's:
• mental clutter caused by constant thinking, analysing, planning, problem-solving, judging, and predicting.
• emotional mess created by unmet needs, painful memories, old wounds, and daily stressors.
• psychological chaos caused by negative thinking, critical self-talk, limiting beliefs, and unhelpful stories.
Typically, you're taught to shove this stuff down inside of yourself, so you can remain presentable on the outside.
Trouble is, this takes up a LOT of valuable inner space and energy, which can leave you feeling taxed, chaotic, anxious, overwhelmed, lethargic, troubled, and like you're fit to burst.
So, let's explore 6 steps to help you care for your inner world, so you can feel better IN yourself.
❶ Let Go of Emotional Baggage
Carrying around old pent-up emotions can leave you feeling stuck, heavy, tired, and stagnant.
If you want to feel better in the long term, one of the BEST things you can do is find a safe, healthy way to express and release these old emotions.
You can do this alone through things like journaling, art-making, dancing, or in trusted conversation - simply make space for yourself and see what naturally bubbles to the surface for expression.
Or you can seek guidance and support from a counsellor or therapist to help you work through it.
Each bit of pent-up emotion you release creates a little more clarity, peace, and freedom within yourself and enables you to tap into more of your innate power, creativity, and joy.
❷ Tell Better Stories
What stories do you tell about yourself and your life?
Do they tend to be balanced and affirming OR critical and limiting?
It's important to get clear on the kind of stories you tell, because they impact on your sense of self, your sense of reality, and your behaviour.
If you frequently tell negative stories about yourself and your life it can leave you feeling sad, mad, bitter, or bad about things.
Telling more authentic, affirming stories about who you are, where you've been, what you've done, what's happening for you right now, and where you're going in life can all help you to feel much better.
So, where do you start?
First, get clear on the kind of stories you're telling right now.
Write down 3 stories you repeat about yourself and your life - either to yourself or other people.
Maybe you always tell that story of how uncreative you are - or how you have to do everything for everybody -
or how useless you are because you never succeed at anything.
Then ask yourself:
• Is this REALLY true? (be HONEST - don't let your inner critic answer this question for you)
• Does this story help or hurt me? (speak it aloud and see if it makes you feel good or bad about things)
• What's a better story I could tell? (one that's more balanced, affirming, or positive)
The more authentic, loving stories you tell about yourself and your life the better you'll begin to feel.
❸ Move Your Energy
You're an energetic being with physical, mental, emotional, creative, sexual, and spiritual energies inside of you.
These dynamic energies need to be channelled and expressed - otherwise they can become stuck, stagnant, and imbalanced.
Trouble is, so much of modern day life can keep you stuck in the mental energies of your head.
So, you have to consciously make time to channel your other energies to remain clear, calm, balanced, whole, and vital.
Take a moment and consider:
• Do you make use of all of the different energies within you?
• If not, which ones do you use most and which are often neglected?
• How could you make more use of those neglected energies in your everyday life?
So, for example, if you neglect your creative energy you might choose to channel it into your outfit choices or in a home decor project. If you neglect your spiritual energy you might take more time to be still, read soul-stirring books, or connect with nature.
It's well-worth taking time to keep these different energies moving, because it WILL help you to feel much better in and about yourself.
❹ Reduce Mental Loops
When you get stuck in a cycle of overthinking - replaying the same old event - or continually rehearsing a scenario in your head you tend to:
a) use up a lot of energy (which could be better channeled elsewhere).
b) stir-up difficult feelings like anxiety, stress, frustration, sadness, resentment, or shame.
None of this is conducive to you feeling good in yourself.
Whilst it can be hard to catch yourself at it, when you DO become aware try to:
1) Stop it - to break the pattern first notice how you're stuck in it - then gently tell yourself how you don't need to keep repeating this event - then actively switch your focus to something else (like your breath or a positive affirmation).
2) Mindfulness - get into the habit of paying attention to what's happening INSIDE of yourself and practice bringing yourself back to your sense of centre.
❺ Go Into Nature
Getting out into nature is a great way to feel better in yourself.
You're PART of nature and your inner being responds to fresh air, the beauty of flora and fauna, and the life-giving elements.
It doesn't have to involve a huge hike or magnificent scenery. A short walk or simply sitting in your garden can work wonders.
The key is to allow yourself to sink into the experience - let go of the incessant mental chatter and inner commentary - BE fully in the moment - use all of your senses - try not to multi-task at the same time (e.g checking emails or calling a friend).
❻ Tidy your Outer Spaces
When your outer environment's dirty or messy it can make you feel stressed, annoyed, and chaotic inside.
If this is the case, start to address the issue one small step at a time.
You don't have to tackle a whole room, as this can just create overwhelm - which will make you feel worse not better - so choose one thing that's bugging you and get it sorted, even if it's just your handbag or a drawer.
If that feels easy, clean and tidy another small area and repeat over time.
You'll feel better for getting on top of it, and your life will run a little more smoothly because of it.
On the flip side, when you feel stressed, annoyed, and chaotic you can channel that agitated energy into something productive like cleaning and tidying - rather than letting it fester.
So, there's 6 steps to help you feel better but, of course, they'll only work if you act on them - so pick one or two to help you improve how you feel today.
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