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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Training the Self-Care Habit

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jul 25th 2012

self careOne thing that most of us are just not that good at is caring about ourselves. Some of us can exercise, eat well or give ourselves the occasional indulgence, but more than not, we’re last on our “to-do” lists. The important thing here is that self-care is a major factor in feeling well and being resilient in difficult times. But there are some simple ways to get your brain in the habit of self-care. 

Note: Be aware that it’s completely natural for your brain to judge this as something silly as an act of resistance. But see the endgame of that, it closes you off to new experience that’s associated with happiness in the Big 5 Personality Scale and it also just closes you off to caring about yourself. With that said, see below. 

What is one thing you can do right now or today that is an act of loving yourself?

Here are 7 ideas and treat this week as an experiment to put some of these to work and see what you notice:

  1. Start your morning by thinking of five things you’re grateful for.

  2. If possible, practice mindful eating or drinking coffee or tea for a few minutes in the morning. 

  3. Practice a mindful check-in during the day once or twice (see this post for my video explaining this technique).

  4. Take at least a 20-minute walk each day to care for your body.

  5. Put your hands on your heart and wish yourself well, to be healthy and to be happy. 

  6. When things are tough, just acknowledge that it’s a hard moment and keep your critics at bay.

  7. At night, look back on the day, forgive all the people you’re holding grudges against, release that burden and have a better night’s sleep. 


Here’s the experiment:

  1. Rate your stress level today on a scale of 1 to 10.

  2. Give a specific example of reacting with stress like, “When I get to work and see my emails I notice and immediate spike in stress.” 

  3. Practice these for a week and rate your stress level again. See what you notice. 


As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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