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How to Love and Accept Yourself. Emotional First Aid Kit: Part 1

This lesson is a part of an audio course How to Love and Accept Yourself by Linda Bjork

In a previous lesson, I shared a story about hitting an emotional wall that literally made me feel like I was going to die, but fortunately, I had been warned that this would happen, so I knew what to do. To get through that wall, I used one of the tools from an emotional first aid kit. An emotional first aid kit is a list of simple tools or actions that cause an immediate, although temporary, positive effect, like singing, for example, and that's what I did. I cranked up one of Shakira's songs, called Try Anything from the movie Zootopia and sang along.

Singing it through once wasn't enough, I had to repeat it three times before the feelings of panic that my life was in mortal danger subsided, and I knew I would survive.

The remedy is surprisingly simple, but it takes some courage to follow through. Think about it. When you're watching a movie, and a monster is chasing someone, they run away or hide. They don't jump out and sing a song because if they sing a song, then the monster will eat them, but if they run away and hide, then there's a chance of survival. And that's what our subconscious is trying to do. It's trying to increase our chance of survival. But in this case, your subconscious is misinformed, and it's time to let our conscious mind take over. We don't just want to survive; we want to thrive. We want to be happy and confident.

Keep a list of emotional tools handy that work best for you to use as an emotional first aid kit to work through those walls that try to obstruct progress.

If we can push through these walls and keep going, then our thoughts and feelings slowly change, and the RAS naturally adjusts its programming to allow positive input without fighting or outright rejecting it.

This fight with our subconscious is temporary during a transition period, but it's also inevitable, and this causes many people to give up because they don't understand what's happening. All they know is that there is a warning voice in their head that they're not safe and so they quit and retreat.

But since you listened to this lesson. Now you know:

  • What is happening.

  • Why it's happening.

  • What to do about it.

This knowledge empowers us to be able to get past roadblocks that might impede our growth, progress and healing. You can do this! And I promise that it's worth it!

Here are a few suggested tools:

Sing a Song 3x

Singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins which make you feel uplifted and happy. It helps relax muscle tension and decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the bloodstream and can help take your mind off the day's troubles to boost your mood.

In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like so you don't have to have an amazing voice to feel the positive effects of singing.

Participants in one study showed significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels after one month of adding singing to their routine.

So if you find yourself in a rough spot, sing along to an upbeat, positive song. Sing through one song three times or sing three different positive, upbeat songs once. Allow the music to wash through you and feel the healing and invigorating effects immediately lifting mood and bringing relief. From my own experience, I can say that it really works.

Print out the lyrics so you can sing all the words and choose songs that have lyrics that have meaning to you personally. Here are a few suggested songs to help you create your own list: Roar by Katy Perry, Try Everything by Shakira, Waka Waka by Shakira, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Happy by Pharrel Williams, Better When I'm Dancin' by Meghan Trainor, On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, Believer by Imagine Dragons, and You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim.

Boost Confidence and Mood with a Hero Pose

You can improve your mood in just 90 seconds by doing this one simple trick. Put your chin up, smile (even if you don't feel like it). Pull your shoulders back, stand straight and tall with your hands relaxed at your sides or on your hips. Keep both feet pointing forward and keep the weight even on both legs. Hold this position for 90 seconds.

Science shows that doing these things will not only make you appear more confident and happy; it actually makes you feel more confident and happy. It was actually Charles Darwin, who first came up with the idea that there is a connection between our emotions and our body language that goes both ways. We smile when we feel good, but we also feel good when we smile.

Even if you don't feel like it, doing the actions will help increase those feelings. If we want to feel happy, then we need to smile more. If we want to feel confident, then we stand tall and pull our shoulders back. Holding this pose for just 90 seconds increases the level of testosterone which boosts confidence while decreasing the level of cortisol which lowers stress.

Furthermore, smiling, even if it's a fake or forced smile, increases the production of mood-enhancing hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which can help us feel better.

In the next lesson, I'll share more emotional first aid kits tools.

In closing I'd like to share a quote by author Richard Rohr, "There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am, and that is enough."

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Written by

Linda Bjork