08/09/2012 10:43 am ET Updated Oct 09, 2012

7 Ways to Train the Self-Care Habit

One 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 seven ideas to train the self-care habit.

  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.
  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.

Adapted from Mentalhelp.Net.

For more by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., click here.

For more on GPS for the Soul, click here.