Here are 10 ways to be nicer to yourself.

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If you can remember back to those things you learned in kindergarten, the Golden Rule says to treat others the way you would want to be treated. It’s good advice that is applicable in nearly every situation from the grocery store check-out line to a grieving friend, save for one thing, how do you actually treat yourself?

When most of us see a friend in need, we’ll make time to listen to their woes, offer useful advice and a sympathetic ear, perform some simple act of kindness, and hopefully lift their spirits. It’s what you would want to happen if you were in their shoes, right? But do you ever do that for yourself? When is the last time you took time to be kind to yourself?

There are many reason to treat yourself with a little kindness with the scientific studies to back it up, including higher self-esteem, strengthening relationships, empowerment, heightened sense of responsibility, and lower stress levels. All that, just for remembering to take it easy on yourself every once in a while.

To help you get started, here are 10 ways to be nicer to yourself:

1. Stop trying to be perfect.

No one is and no one will ever be, so don’t hold yourself to that exhausting standard.

2. Forgive yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes, but if you apologize and then forgive yourself you can work towards making things better and making yourself happier.

3. Respect your dreams.

If there is something you want to achieve in your life whether it’s becoming an airline pilot, making a quilt, writing a memoir, learning Japanese, or taking over the pulpit at the PTA, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. If a friend said they were too dumb, too busy, or too afraid to do something, would you let them get away with it? Probably not! Use those words of encouragement on yourself. 

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4. Have your own tastes.

Don’t always put your desires, wants, and wishes on the back burner. If your whole family likes crunchy peanut butter, but you prefer creamy, buy both or rotate. No reason to deny yourself a simple pleasure.

5. Treat yourself.

Get yourself the occasional spa day, a new dress, or even just a scoop of ice cream. You deserve it!

6. Carve out time for yourself.

It’s easy to get swept up in a whirlwind of office tasks, school activities, and post-work meet-ups. Sometimes you just need to say no to make time for your personal interests. Use your newfound free time to bake, hit the gym, read a book, or volunteer for a cause you believe in.

7. Keep a journal.

Take a few minutes a day to unwind, reflect, and make note of what you went through during the day and what you hope to achieve tomorrow.

8. Be grateful.

Gratitude is scientifically proven to be good for your brain and your mental health. Many studies  over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. Don’t you owe that to yourself?

9. Be your own critic.

If a friend was telling you a sob story about getting passed over for a promotion, what would you do? Listen with empathy and then encourage them to not give up, keep working, and devise a strategy for success. Did you know that you can do this for yourself, too? Try to turn your inner critic into a force for good.

10. Learn about JOMO.

Forget the fear of missing out (FOMO) when it feels like everyone is having fun without you, and find your JOMO, the joy of missing out. Stay in and do exactly what you want in your free time.