By Paul von Bergen

Compassion and kindness starts with the self. This is not narcissistic or self-centred but the best contribution you can make to the universe. When you love yourself you will project love to others. When you hate yourself this is what you will radiate. Being kind to yourself is really about being gentle with how you move your body, being gentle with what you put in your body and perhaps most importantly, being gentle with your thoughts.

Kind in Movement. Gentle can still be strong, just not damaging. Tennis, rugby, running and contact sports are all out. Walking, swimming, yoga, Tai Chi are all OK. Think about how you sit and sleep and whether these are gentle to your body.

Kind in Body. Your are what you eat is a popular motto and it’s certainly true that much of what we consume in the western world is highly damaging to us. Processed food is designed to make money by using the cheapest ingredients and having you come back for more due to its addictive ingredients like salt and sugar that you crave. The food companies care about delivering shareholder return, not customer wellness. You have to cut the crap out of your diet. Real wholefoods cooked with love and care or organic meat that has been treated well. Food as nature produced it. Nature knows best. Our digestive systems have been evolving for millions of years but our diet has massively changed just in the last fifty. The current epidemic of ill health has reasons..

Kind in Thought. ‘I’m useless’, ‘stupid me’, ‘I can’t cope’, ‘I’ll never be able to do this’, ‘I’ll never find someone who loves me’. These kinds of thoughts are more common than you think but can be very damaging when repeated over and over again. Thoughts ultimately create your reality, your personality and your life. Through mindfulness we learn to notice repetitive patterns of negative thought and ‘nip them in the bud’ through deliberately practising positive thoughts, even if they appear forced initially. This is about practising gratitude, setting positive intentions and getting support and guidance.

Where thoughts go energy flows. If you don’t change direction you are likely to end up where you were heading!