What gift did you give yourself this year?
Over the last days, weeks and for some it has been months-most of us have been shopping for gifts. Some of us were super extravagant. Some were more low key. Some were super thoughtful. Some of us were last minute. Some were well-prepared.
But...I want to know what you got for yourself this Christmas? What did you get and in hindsight-what would be the best gift you could have given to yourself to prepare you for a happier, healthier and more enjoyable 2017? A fancy watch...nice clothes...designer glasses...a single malt whiskey...a pair of Louboutins...a holiday...a suit...or perhaps more self-kindness and compassion or simply committing to make time to do what you really love?
Meditation is the best gift I have ever given to myself. I gave myself the gift of meditation 8 years ago and it was and remains the best gift I have ever given to myself. Some of you may be drawn to meditate and some not. The benefits are powerful... and best experienced as words do not really do justice to the amazing feelings meditation brings. The first fruit of meditation is awareness and with even a little practice, you will feel more relaxed, energized and focused so you can enjoy and get more out of life on a daily basis. It is a gift that keeps on giving.
Another great gift you could give to yourself is self-kindness-to speak to yourself and treat yourself with the love and kindness you would a good friend. I often ask people: if you spoke to your friends the way you speak to yourself would you have any friends? Something to reflect on... What if you could be kinder to yourself..what if you could be more consistently on your own team. Science and the amazing Maureen Gaffney tells us that if we feed our mind 5 positives for every one negative, we will flourish.
If the ration is 3:1 we will maintain our status quo...average performance...and if less than 3 to one we enter in a downward mental and emotional spiral from which it can be difficult to escape. And yet if we can achieve 5 to one-we are preparing to thrive.
What is the ratio of negatives to positives in your inner self-talk ? For most Irish adults we would probably be lucky if it the ratio was one-to-one. What we think and what we do determines how we feel. The emotions we feel over time generate chemicals in our body. If we are constantly self critical or thinking negatively, this will impact how we feel over time and how we feel over time determines our physiology.
So back to what gift did you get for yourself ? It's not too late. You can choose to be kinder to yourself. You can be more patient or compassionate. You can improve that self-talk ratio. You can be emotionally generous with yourself. There are so so many things you can do. If you choose to be one percent kinder to yourself every day-by the end of the year you will be 3800 percent kinder to yourself. Whatever area of your life you want to develop, the same statistic applies.
So if you did not get yourself what you feel you really want now-take some 'me' time and reflect...and start your year by giving yourself what you really really want .. what will help you have a great year ahead so you can thrive.
Ultimately in life, others value us according to how we value ourselves. Value yourself and give yourself a gift that will transform your experience of every day life for good.
Calodagh McCumiskey teaches Meditation and Yoga. She offers wellbeing at work programmes for businesses as well as weekly meditation classes in Wexford and Waterford. To learn more, call 0871 335230, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.spiritualearth.ie