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In many parts of the world, self-help tends to get a bad rap for being filled with hokey advice that doesn't work or as a gateway to cult membership. That's often why many people avoid the self-help industry, but this really shouldn't be the case.
While there are a lot of bad self-help groups out there, not all self-help is bad. The truth is that using the right practices can help you change your life in ways that you never thought possible.
Speaking as someone who's had to rely on themselves when there was no one else around to help, these tried-and-true self-help practices can really change your life.
Meditation is not just a trendy activity, people! It's one of the most popular self-help practices out there, and has literally been proven to change a person's brain structure into one that's healthier.
It's really hard to avoid talking about the benefits of meditation without it sounding like an exaggeration. Studies have shown that people who meditate reap a slew of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better ability to cope with trauma, lowered anxiety, and yes, slower aging.
You don't need to meditate for too long to get the perks. Nor do you need to be a crazy yoga guru to do it, either. A simple guided meditation session is all you need to reduce stress, regardless of what just happened.
Ignoring 'The Voice'
You know how you often end up having those little, nagging thoughts that make you wonder if you're really doing as well as you think you are? The more you pay attention to those thoughts, the more they multiply—and the worse off you are.
That's why one of the best self-care practices is to ignore those voices, and if you can't, logic yourself out of thinking that way. Realize that it's normal to get worried about things, but that your worries don't necessarily reflect reality.
Admittedly, I'm still not the most sober person in the world. However, I'll be the first to tell people that learning how to tone down substance use is one of the best self-help practices you can have.
Sobering up, even if it's temporary, can help you clear up your mind, improve your finances, and also strengthen your health. I can't begin to tell you what a good self-care this practice is, even if you're only staying sober for a month or so.
That being said, if you've gotten to the point where you're noticing signs of chemical dependency, sobering up is not so much a self-care practice, as it is a self-preservation practice. Not keeping substance abuse in check can and will kill you, so you might want to start that sooner rather than later.
Using The "Friend Advice" Method
A common issue that many of us have is that we tend to give better advice to our friends than we do to ourselves. Or, worse, we come up with excuses for making the wrong decisions that we would never want our friends to have.
One of the best self-help practices you can try for this issue is the "Friend Advice" Method.
Next time you're wondering what to do, pretend your friend is coming to you with the same problem. What would you tell them to do, from an outside perspective? Do that—and don't allow yourself excuses.
Practice Energy-Based Cleaning
If you have the least bit of intuition, you probably have noticed that certain items tend to carry vibes—especially if you have strong memories attached to them. This is doubly true with items that remind you of specific times in your life, that you'd rather forget.
Speaking as someone who's recently given this a try, I can say that getting rid of stuff that carries too much bad energy is one of the wisest self-help practices out there. The same can be said for things you don't use, since the energy attached to them is "dead energy."
I call this "energy-based cleaning," and the idea behind it is that getting rid of things that don't add to good energy will help you clear out your life—and open up room for more goodness. If you feel guilty tossing out some things, thank the objects for their service, and donate them to charity.
Studies show that having a less cluttered room tends to decrease stress levels and lower chances of allergic reactions. So, even if you don't believe in vibes, cleaning out your place may be a wise decision regardless.
Learning To Cook
Your mama was right when she said that all that junk food you eat from McDonald's isn't good for you! Cooking is both one of the most practical self-help practices out there, as well as one of the most enjoyable.
To really get the most of your self-care, make an effort to seek out easy, healthy recipes first. Even if the first things you cook for yourself are some simple vegetarian crock-pot recipes for when you get home, it's still better than chowing down on McDonald's.
Psychologists regularly call journaling one of the best self-help practices for people of all walks of life. Being able to jot down your feelings without having to worry about judgment, or even better, being able to reflect on certain aspects of your life, can be the boost you need to get better.
There's no wrong way to journal, either. If you want to write a gratitude journal, go for it. If you need to write a slam book, do it. Or, if you want to try a dream journal, give it a shot.
Journaling can be incredibly therapeutic in ways you never really can expect it to be. So, give it a shot.
Yes, masturbation is regularly recognized as a healthy self-help practice by wellness experts. Regular masturbation helps relieve stress, improves your knowledge about your body, and also can help prevent certain diseases. Most notably, masturbation can help prevent prostate cancer in men.
People often underestimate how important self-loving can be for one's sexual health. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed for doing it; it's a healthy way to enjoy your body.
The news is bad; and while there are always certain things we should know about current events, most of it is not necessary. Studies show that checking the news on day to day events is linked to serious anxiety issues and depression.
One of the newest self-help practices you can use is to just drop your news intake down to once a week. The reason why is because news outlets tend to focus on the negative, despite it being (statistically) the safest time to be alive.
Employing The "Would You Ever?" Rule
This is one of those self-help practices that will change the way you deal with people—and who you choose to hang out with. Oftentimes, we tend to excuse other peoples' foul behavior towards us. Or we end up finding ourselves ignoring bad behavior, thinking we are "being unreasonable" for calling people out on it.
When you're wondering if you're in the wrong, ask yourself if you would ever treat someone you care about this way. If the answer is no, distance yourself from them, and cease communication. Don't give an explanation, since this often opens the door to manipulating you into keeping them around.
More often than not, refusing to give them the opportunity to gaslight you is the easiest way to ensure you have a clean break. If you can't do that, simply say that you don't like the way that they're treating you. And that while they may say it's unreasonable, you no longer feel like a relationship between the two of you is healthy.
Using the "Would You Ever?" rule is one of the fastest ways to determine who should be kept in your life, and who should be kicked out.
Last, but not least, among self-help practices worth talking about is the importance of mindful eating. Think about how many articles come out that warn against the dangers of sugar, synthetic foods, and other chemical additives out there. If you think that gunk won't affect you, you're wrong.
A large portion of learning mindful eating is learning to choose foods your body will react well to. If you haven't been feeling your peak, or if you've been struggling with losing weight, chances are high that switching to a clean eating diet will do wonders for you.
Mindful eating isn't just about getting to know the ingredients in your food, either. It's about slowly savoring the food you eat, so that you really enjoy your meal and avoid overeating.
Similarly, it's also about listening to your body. Are you hungry, or actually just thirsty? Drink up, then figure out what's going on.
This is one of the only self-help practices that will help you lose weight in a healthy, diet-free way. Give it a go, and you'll love it.