3 Essential Ways to Become a Healthier Version of Yourself

A mental first aid kit

Letters from E.K.
Oct 17 · 9 min read
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does not have to take years to become a healthier version of yourself, because you can transform immediately by taking the right steps.

In the past 3 years, I’ve worked on becoming a healthier version of myself every single day because I was not where I wanted to be. Healing my past wounds and improving my relationship with myself had become my main focus because it was a necessity to do so.

I cannot say the journey was not challenging at all, but the methods I’ve discovered along the way have been immensely helpful. This way, I went from feeling stuck to loving and accepting myself more.

Do you also want to become a healthier version of yourself?

There are 3 essential ways to become a healthier version of yourself:

  • Self-care
  • Self-love
  • Self-improvement

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

1. Self-care

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It is an easy thing to neglect taking care of yourself because we feel like there are no consequences in the short-term. But they grow like a snowball with time, and without us realizing the effects of it start to show up in our lives.

In the early phases of my journey, I was tempted to ignore taking care of myself very often. My busy life made it seem like I had more important things to do. But after a few attempts of neglecting, I realized self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

The elements of self-care

When caught up in daily life, giving yourself a break is a great way of taking care of yourself. To do that, you can disconnect, take a bath, drink coffee or tea, light up candles, listen to nature sounds, read poetry, or sleep. This way you can block out the noise of the world and hear yourself.

A bonus benefit of this practice is getting comfortable being all by yourself and not being scared of your own thoughts. Because when you are uncomfortable being alone, you want to distract yourself constantly and I think we can all agree that it is not healthy to live like that.

Taking time to reflect

This is important because this way you can keep your life on track. To be aware of the state of our well-being, we need to slow down once in a while and ask ourselves how is everything.

My favorite method to reflect is to write. Whenever I write with the intention of taking care of myself, I understand myself better. I don’t solve all my problems every time but at least I get to know why I feel what I feel.

Taking care of your body

This is another element of self-care. This can include things like putting on a face mask, taking a bath, applying a cream, or using a humidifier to moisturize the air. Also in the long-run, things like eating healthy and exercising are great contributors to one being healthy physically, and thus mentally.

It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. — Mandy Hale

Related article:

2. Self-improvement

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Whether it is to improve their lives or to solve a little problem like fixing the window, people thrive on development. This is why self-improvement plays such a big part in one being healthier as a person.

From the moment I started getting interested in self-improvement to now, the discovery of something to get better at has been filling me with a sense of joy. But also the quality of my life has enhanced greatly as I’ve worked on improving myself and getting healthier as a person.

The elements of self-improvement

To improve yourself, research. I recommend doing this research in two areas especially. Firstly research the subjects where you wish to improve yourself because by gathering the right information, you can convince yourself to do what needs to be done to make that change. Secondly, research new subjects that you have never heard of, this way you can learn new ideas and helpful perspectives that did not even cross your mind before.

Also, let yourself be transformed as well as researching because information can only be useful if used. So put what you are learning into practice to make it a part of your life.

The thing to be careful here is to not fall into the limiting beliefs trap. This is essential to avoid because if you believe that you are lazy, or unproductive, then you will more likely stay that way and never change. Therefore if you want to change yourself, I strongly recommend working on changing your mindset first.

In my own journey, I have come to realize that words rule our lives. These can be words we hear from others, but most importantly the words we say to ourselves play a big role in shaping our mindset and who we really are. A useful method to control the effects of words is to use certain affirmations daily. Some of the affirmations I recommend by Louise Hay are:

“I am constantly discovering new ways to improve my health.”

“I am willing to change and grow.”

“My day begins and ends with gratitude.”

“I love and approve of myself.”

“I honor who I am.”

For more affirmations: 50 Affirmations by Louise Hay

Lastly, keeping yourself in check is an important subject when it comes to changing anything in your life. According to Psychology Today, we are wired to take the part of least resistance. Dr. Nobuhiro Hagura, who is a researcher on cognitive neuroscience, says “Our brain tricks us into believing the low-hanging fruit really is the ripest.”. This shows that it is easier to fall back into old routines, rather than adopting new habits. That’s why keeping yourself in check when working on improving yourself is so important to be consistent.

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” — Anna Quindlen

Related article:

3. Self-love

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Self-love is a concept we hear a lot these days, but not until I started working on it consciously, I knew how important it was. Before that, I always thought jokingly: “Of course I love myself, I’m a Leo.”. But this all changed one day when I randomly took a test on self-love and saw my results. It definitely was an eye-opener and at that moment I decided to work on why I was failing at loving myself without even realizing it.

The elements of self-love

In this 2-year process of healing, I learned that kindness should not always be for others, you need to be kind to yourself as well. The ways of being kind to yourself include being more tolerant of yourself, forgiving yourself, not allowing toxic self-talk, and especially respecting yourself.

“Love is never outside ourselves; love is within us.” — Louise Hay

As we live through life, just like children in the playground, we get bruised and wounded from time to time. But unlike children, we don’t put bandaid on our wounds, instead, most of us prefer to ignore them until it becomes unbearable to do so.

The ignored past hurts and the way they make us feel, think, and act is no different than running around while you are wounded physically, it ends up causing more damage. Thus giving yourself the care for healing old wounds is essential to become a healthier version of yourself.

The insecurities and fears are great tools to guide us when looking for past hurts. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Why don’t I think I deserve ____?
  • Why do I think I deserve ____?
  • Why do I allow ____?
  • Why do I feel I have to do ____?
  • Why do I feel I shouldn’t do____?
  • Why do I over-react to ____?
  • When did I start to feel ____?

After the identification of the problem, I recommend doing two things: shadow work and reflection. By doing these you will be giving each wound the recognition and the care they need and thus get healthier mentally.

Shadow work

Shadow work is done to free yourself from the effects of the subconscious roots of a problem. The term shadow self is discovered by Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung in the 20th century. In an article at Better Help, the term shadow is defined as either everything hidden in our subconscious mind or the part of you that you don’t want to identify as you. But the way I like to define shadows is just a collection of strong memories that secretly manipulate our lives.

The parts you disown can rule your life without you even noticing. For example, you might be hating the people who are sensitive and think that they are not mature enough. But if observed, it is most likely that you reject that part of yourself. Maybe a childhood experience like your father telling you that you were weak for crying made its way into your subconscious mind and now you reject that part of you.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -Carl Jung

How to deal with shadows:

In the book called Integral Life Practice, author Ken Wilber developed a method called 3–2–1 shadow process, which helps with doing the shadow work.

The steps are simple:

  1. Face it.

2. Talk it.

3. Be it.

For further information: 3–2–1 Shadow Process Pdf

Also according to Harley Therapy, while the analysis of Carl Jung can be helpful to explore your shadow, talk therapies can be useful too. But either way, taking the time and doing the shadow work is essential for becoming healthier as a person and enhancing the quality of your life.

Reflecting on limiting beliefs

Our limiting beliefs and insecurities come into our lives along the way and if not noticed they can become a part of ourselves. Therefore reflecting on these can be an important step at healing from past wounds.

The things you wish were not a part of you like low self-confidence, not feeling good enough, or feeling worthless are only the things that have stuck to your shoes like a piece of gum. They are NOT you and realizing this will give you so much power. By seeing them for what they really are, you can destroy your limiting beliefs and insecurities.

Remember they are just a piece of gum.

“I am comfortable looking in the mirror, saying, ‘I love you, I really love you.’”

— Louise Hay

Related article:

Conclusion

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I believe there is always space for one to be a healthier version of themselves, but healing does not have to take years. Every day we can take steps to make ourselves healthier than yesterday.

In my own journey I’ve discovered that the formula for becoming a healthier version of yourself consists of 3 essential elements:

  • Self-care
  • Self-love
  • Self-improvement

I would like to add that there is always space for doing more and what we need can vary for each individual. Therefore in your journey of healing, please don’t forget to listen to yourself.

Thank you for reading.

-E.K.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Thanks to Melissa Berdine

Letters from E.K.

Written by

Your weekly pen pal. (Life and Psychology) https://linktr.ee/lettersfromEK

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 128,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Letters from E.K.

Written by

Your weekly pen pal. (Life and Psychology) https://linktr.ee/lettersfromEK

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 128,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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