When you do something for yourself and focus on the pleasure it gives, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system (think calming and soothing) and quiet your sympathetic nervous system and its stress response.

Besides lifting your mood, settling your fears, and brightening your outlook, the stress relief of taking pleasure offers physical health benefits, too: strengthening your immune system, improving digestion, and balancing hormones.

How much time do you spend nourishing yourself?

Nourishing yourself is supplying you with what you need in order to sustain life and to grow, thrive, and flourish.

Nourishing yourself includes eating and drinking well, getting enough sleep, moving your body, and making time for creativity and fun.

Some suggestions to get you started:

  • Drink tea.
  • Watch a sunset.
  • Read a book.
  • Go for a walk or hike.
  • Go to bed an hour early.
  • Meet a friend.
  • Write a letter.
  • See that new exhibit at the museum.
  • Put on your favorite music and sing loudly while cooking dinner.
  • Call your mom.
  • Hug or cuddle your loved ones – people and pets.
  • Take that class you’ve always wanted to.
  • Make something–a hat, a meal, a shelf, a garden– whatever calls to you.
    Smile at everyone you see today.

Take a moment to imagine the rewards to you and others if you did this one good thing for yourself tomorrow. How would you feel at the end of the day? What would be the benefits? And then imagine those benefits coming to you and others the day after tomorrow . . . and the days and weeks and months after that.