7 Exercises You Can Do In Less Than 20 Minutes To Find Self-Love

Learning to love yourself is a challenge, and figuring out how to accept your flaws can be even more difficult. It's a seemingly daunting task, with no clear starting line, but you have to start the journey somewhere, and that's where Emily-Anne Rigal comes in.

At the age of 16, after being bullied extensively in elementary school and even becoming a bit of a bully herself at a new school, Rigal created the YouTube channel WeStopHate where she made videos about her experiences with confidence and bullying, and even enlisted her fellow YouTubers to make their own clips with advice. Her new book FLAWD: How to Stop Hating on Yourself, Others, and the Things that Make You Who You Are is chockfull of tips to help people of any age who struggle with self-esteem issues, many of which are based on these videos and advice from some pretty wise teenagers.

"What if we could all be up-front and accepting of the things we don't like about ourselves?" Rigal asks in the introduction. "Well," she continues, "we can. It's a matter of getting a handle on how we look at these things." Rigal gives some concrete exercises readers can try to jumpstart their quest to find self-love and change their points of view. Here are seven exercises you can try out in less than 20 minutes to help you learn to love yourself and accept your flaws.

Have a Blab Session

To love yourself requires knowing who you are, and one way Rigal recommends finding the answer to that daunting question is to try a blab session. Grab a pencil and paper, or a blank computer screen, and set a timer for 20 minutes. Then, just start writing. “Let it rip. Stream-of-consciousness style. Fast, furious, and fun,” explains Rigal. "What’s fun is you don’t know what’s going to come out… until it’s out!” Don’t worry about being Hemingway, or even Faulkner. Just write whatever thoughts come to mind “because by putting them on paper, your thoughts are now outside of you.”

Try the Morbid Trick

This exercise was inspired by a YouTube video, and Rigal asks, “If we are ‘just in general lucky to have what we have,’ why do we take so much of our good fortune for granted?” The Morbid Trick is a way to appreciate what you have now. The first step is writing out a list of everything you’ve got, “all the super-easy-to-take-for-granted things in your life.” Then, take it all away. “Imagine those things gone, taken away, lost… forever lost.” And then, “give it all back to yourself.” But make sure you take the time to appreciate each single thing so that don’t keep taking them for granted.

Shift Your Perspective

It’s important to get into the habit of looking at things from someone else’s point of view. So when you’re faced with a problem, or anything really, don’t just look at it one way. Challenge yourself to think of two other ways to perceive or think about the issue. “Maybe that was a snap for you with the thing you chose to look at,” writes Rigal. “But trust me, there are some things in life that will be on the impossible side for you to look at from multiple points of view.” That’s why it’s important to flex that muscle and make shifting your perspective a habit.

Play With Three Zones of Sound

This is another way to practice shifting your perspective, and it also helps you learn to stay in and connect with the present moment. Rigal uses sounds to help set her in the present, “Because sounds are in the present moment. Listening for and to sounds puts you in the present moment with them.” She came up with three zones— inside her body, inside the room she’s in, and outside the room — and tries to place each sound she hears into one of these three zones. It’s both a way to relax and to place yourself in the present.

Finish the Sentence

This exercise is meant to show how a perceived weakness can actually be a strength. Rival asks the reader to complete the following sentence: “If I hadn’t… I never would have…” Rigal gives the example, “If she hadn’t gotten her heart broken, she never would have written songs millions of girls (including me!) could relate to.” Rigal is, of course, referring to Taylor Swift. What you think is a weakness can be a strength, and this exercise allows you to take something you don’t like about yourself and flip it on its head.

Just Face It

Another way to deal with and accept parts of yourself that you don’t like, Rigal recommending “drawing two circle faces that are facing each other… One is you and one is the things you don’t like about yourself. They’re two characters now. They can talk to each other now.” One face points out your flaws, while the other responds. Some things are easier to accept than others, but if you face something about yourself that you can’t accept, at least you now know you can deal with it.

Have Fun!

All this soul-searching can get tough, but if you’re having fun, you won’t notice how challenging it can be. “Connecting play to everything is a life hack,” explains Rigal, “because it includes the everyday little (and big) ‘problems’ that aggravate, annoy, and upset us.” Being able to play around makes everything less intimidating, and that’s one of the best skills you can have. So whether it’s playing with puppies or writing inspirational quotes on Post-It notes and sticking them everything, find a way to play and have fun.

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