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Excerpted from Give to Your Heart's Content by Linda Harper. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Harper. Excerpted by permission of Innisfree Press.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"So you made a mistake. Apologize or make amends if necessary, and then let go of it."

  Linda Harper, Give to Your Heart's Content, Part 4

Ten Simple Ways to Practice Giving to Yourself

We will explore ways to allow your unique style of giving to unfold naturally. The following ideas, however, are gifts of self-nurturing that replenish everyone. Feel free to alter them or expand on the ideas to fit your unique needs. Get yourself into the habit of incorporating self-giving into your everyday life . . . beginning today!

1. Give yourself the gift of doing one thing at a time.

Next time you are thinking about trying to do two or more things at the same time, stop and choose to fully immerse yourself in one activity at a time. If one task has to wait until a little later—let it wait. Enjoy a more relaxed, focused experience.

2. Give yourself the gift of a few minutes alone just to SIT.

Decide to take time out of your schedule and do nothing for at least ten minutes. Just sit. Let your mind become empty. You might be surprised to find what "nothing" has to offer!

3. Give yourself the gift of stretching a self-imposed deadline.

Find one of the "shoulds" you have placed upon yourself that has a time constraint. Consider stretching your time limit a few more hours or another day. Do you really have to have it done in such a hurry, or can you complete the task at a slower and more enjoyable pace?

4. Give yourself the gift of being human.

So you made a mistake. Apologize or make amends if necessary, and then let go of it. Allow yourself to be human without self-degrading yourself for the error.

5. Give yourself the gift of saying "no."

Many of us have days fully packed to the brim, yet we add one more thing when asked. That "one more thing" can be the difference between an enjoyable busy day and a busy day filled with pressure. Stop and allow yourself the option to politely say, "No, not today."

6. Give yourself the gift of slowing down.

Many of us are in the habit of going through our days at an accelerated speed. Make the effort to reduce your rate of movement. Slow down when you get dressed, eat, drive, or walk from place to place.

7. Give yourself the gift of NOT doing something.

Whether your list of things to do is on paper or in your head, choose something from it and decide you are not going to do it today. In reality, we rarely get everything done from our lists, anyway. Decide to skip mowing the lawn, or making the phone call, or filing the papers, or vacuuming the house today. Make this decision early in your day so you can enjoy the sense of freedom in having one less thing to do.

8. Give yourself the gift of going out of your way for a special nurturing eating experience.

Rather than grabbing fast-food or putting that pre-made meal in the microwave, stop and ask yourself, "What would I really like to have that would fulfill my whole person: body, mind, and soul?" Take time out to nurture yourself with a delicious and nutritious meal in a soul-nourishing atmosphere.

9. Give yourself the gift of simple comforts.

There are many basic pleasures in life that nurture our bodies while feeding our souls. Consider the "little things" that can make your day more comfortable. Most of us already know what they are, but we do not stop and take the time to add them to our day. These personal comforts might include slippers, flannel sheets, pajamas heated up in the dryer just before bed on a cold night, an extra pillow, a long bath, hot apple cider, a glass of ice water with a slice of lemon, a favorite snack, or a scented candle. Of course, the list is endless. The idea is to create your own unique and ever-changing list and to keep these gifts to yourself readily available.

10. Give yourself the gift of not asking someone for permission to nurture yourself—just decide to do it.

The next time you feel indecisive about giving yourself a gift, decide that you do not need to have somebody else tell you it is okay to have it. Give yourself the chance to make this decision on your own. You are reaffirming your faith in your natural ability to provide self-nurturing.

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