How to be happy: 'I can't be bothered taking care of myself'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

'I seem to have given up on myself. I don't bother to eat or dress well, do my hair or exercise. I look at my body and think "What's the point?"' Anon

Step 1: To take care of the only face and body we will ever have is to truly cherish and nurture ourselves. This is not superficial narcissism, this is everything to do with self-care and wellbeing. Our bodies are instruments of our psyche and neglecting our external appearance mirrors a neglect of our emotional world. It says something about our state of mind if we cannot nurture our bodies and take pleasure in defining and enhancing this precious corporeal gift. I wonder whether there is some distress affecting you so that you punish yourself through neglect. Cherishing yourself as you are, not as you think you should be, is the key to self-acceptance.

Step 2: To start the process of loving yourself, imagine what you would do if you were to be genuinely caring towards yourself. Start simply. Think about what, how and why you eat what you do. Our bodies are not designed to sit still, so exercise frequently. Your body will love you for taking it seriously. Restorative, re-energising sleep and relaxation are essential if you are to have the resources needed to invest in yourself.

Step 3: What is your relationship with your body? Do you loathe it and if so, why? In the shower, mindfully wash and caress this body of yours that serves you so faithfully and is rewarded with neglect. Imagine what it would be like to lose part of your body; it is a terrible thought, isn't it? Now reappraise what you have and commit to taking care of it. Our bodies will never be younger than they are today, so enjoying and taking care of them now is our only realistic option.

Step 4: Now turn your attention to your face. Think about how beautiful your eyes are. How can they fail not to be – they are the portals to our emotional and intellectual world. Stroke your skin and notice how special, smooth, sensitive and gentle it feels. Acknowledge that everything changes, so all we have in this moment is all we will ever have. Finally, dress as if every day matters, because every day does. Celebrate your unique loveliness and let it shine.

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