We have been taught that to be self-indulgent is an undesirable trait, something that can lead to ruinous behavior. The Merriam-Webster defines self-indulgence as "excessive or unrestrained gratification of one's own appetites, desires, or whims." While indeed many self-indulgences can pack on the pounds or put a major dent in one's relationships or budget, there are also advantages to allowing behaviors that gently pamper and nurture you.
Sometimes it's very proactive to devote the time to making sure your needs get met, especially when these self-nurturing behaviors are healthy and uplifting. I call this raising your permission levels. Self-nurturing, or what Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, calls "the hardest thing you'll ever do" demands that we regularly give ourselves permission to take time off, to indulge in simple pleasures, and to provide what is necessary to feed our heart and soul as well as our bodies.
Permission levels can be likened to an internal barometer measuring how much bliss, well-being, success, and love we allow ourselves. In other words, a person with high permission levels is one who is generally having a positive life experience. An individual with relatively low permission levels would feel an overall sense of dissatisfaction. A good indicator of where your permission levels are in relation to self-nurturing and well-being is the degree of anxiety or guilt you experience when you are not being productive, or just spending a day in bed or other forms of indulgence.
3 Self-Nurturing Way to Raise Your Permission Levels
1. Invest in high-quality flavor enhancers for water or herb tea.
If you aren't getting enough hydration on a daily basis (and most of us are not), this can really impact your mood and energy levels, according to a study done at the University of Connecticut. What really helped me kick up my water consumption was finding flavors that made H2O more appealing. There are commercial flavorings that are loaded with potentially toxic food colorings and flavorings but here are some healthier options: You can find orange blossom and rose-water inexpensively at Indian or Middle Eastern markets; Source out some organic essential oils, like a citrus blend and add a drop or two to your non-caffeinated beverage; My personal favorite is mint-flavored liquid chlorophyll. A few drops in a glass or a squirt in my water bottle is very refreshing as well as potentially an internal deodorant and beneficial supplement according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
2. Take a long soak bath at least once a week.
Showers are quick and efficient but don't allow for one to luxuriate and contemplate unlimited possibilities. One of the precepts of Natural Wellness is to learn to balance busy-ness with being-ness and baths are a great way to schedule some "me" time. Some people find baths as revitalizing as taking a power nap. Baths can be very meditative rituals, especially if you pamper yourself with candles, and fun bath and beauty products.
Dr. Mark Hyman recommends adding one-and-a-half to one cup of Epsom salt and one-and-a-half to one cup of baking soda to your bath, you also gain the benefits of magnesium absorbed through your skin and the alkaline-balancing effects of the baking soda, both of which help with sleep.
3. Spend no less than three to 15 minutes each day practicing deep breathing + reward.
Even if you haven't been able to make meditation a daily practice, doing a few minutes of focused breathing can dramatically improve your health and emotional outlook, according to Dr. Andre Weil. Try to take periodic breaks with the intent of taking at least five deep breaths, imagining that you are inhaling positive, clearing energy and releasing any stress out through the soles of your feet. A surefire way to lock in this life-affirming behavior is to reward yourself with something comforting and nurturing like a handful of pistachios, a square or two of dark chocolate, or a small latte or herbal tea.
LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D. aka Dr. L J has over 25 years as an expert in subconscious dynamics and is a pioneer in the education and certification of hypnotherapists worldwide She currently trains coaches in Holistic Health, Life Makeover Strategies and Subconscious Dynamics through her Natural Wellness Academy specializing in an approach that encompasses Body, Mind and Spirit.