Do only one practice at a time, ideally every day for at least a week.
GIVE SILENCE. Before commenting, pause for a moment. Allow the possibility for something different to arise. Practice this with self-talk, and before speaking to others. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. If something either irritates you or boosts your ego, say to yourself, "It's not important." Then see if it's true. In the scheme of things, is it important? If not, what is? HAVE A CRUSH ON EVERYTHING. Whenever you begin to feel appreciation toward anything, no matter how ordinary, take an extra moment or so to fall in love with it. Do this secretly and silently. Devote yourself to this practice from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep.
DON'T WAKE THE BABY. Practice walking, closing doors, eating potato chips or whatever you're doing as quietly as possible. Imagine a baby sleeping nearby. Be patient and gentle with everything, including your own thoughts.
OUT THE WINDOW! The next time you're in a challenging situation, discard the mantra, deep breathing, or whatever your go-to technique may be. Simply relate to the emotion, person or circumstance directly.
BLOW SOAP BUBBLES. Make each one as big as possible using long, slow exhalations. It doesn't matter if they pop prematurely. Start with five bubbles a day. Notice how this practice affects your mind, mood, life and the world.
SUE EVERYONE! Notice every time you complain, verbally or mentally. Then imagine filing a law suit. Keep it personal: You vs. Them. What's the charge? Get ridiculous with it. This practice will put things in perspective.
MAKE MISSTAKES. When the Navajo weave a rug, they deliberately leave imperfections along the borders. This is an act of humility, to acknowledge our humanness and invite a higher power into the process. Practice making intentional mistakes. Overcook an egg, wear something inside out—make one mistake each day.
STOP LOOKING. When a pickpocket looks at a saint, all he can see are the pockets. Curb the impulse to look for anything. See the blessings that are already before you.
LEAVE THE OVEN LIGHT ON. Adding self-care on top of self-aggression is like putting frosting on a burnt cake. A day at the spa won't change anything if you "need it." First, be aware when you're aggressive toward yourself. Don't beat yourself up for beating yourself up; simply be aware. Leave the oven light on. See thoughts and feelings as they are. With practice, you'll instinctively know not to burn the cake. It will be soft, moist, and sweet—delicious just the way it is. Then, if you add frosting, it's not because you need it but because you enjoy it. It'll just be icing on the cake.
DATE WITH SELF. Sit or lie down. Relax completely. If you start thinking, gently tell yourself, "No need to think right now, Sweetheart. Give your mind a little vacation."
DON'T TELL ANYONE. Keep your intention to yourself. Don't make a big deal out of it. Work toward it quietly and diligently, with no attachment to any results.
HOW'S YOUR ICE CREAM? Sometimes our mind and body are in two different places. We might be eating some really delicious ice cream, but thinking about when would be a good time to schedule an oil change. Use the mantra, "How's your ice cream?" to bring yourself back to what you're doing.
ODES MADE EASY. Think of a person. Begin each line with "Because" and follow it with one reason you're grateful for that person. Example: "Because you didn't kill me when I wrecked your Bentley." Write at least 10 lines. Keep writing until you weep, and write a few more. Then give it to the person, read it aloud, or make a recording.
WHY DO YOU ASK? Before you ask someone a question, ask yourself why you're asking that question. This practice will weaken the habit of seeking approval or validation, and encourage you to trust your own direct experience. You'll come to realize that all the answers are already within you.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH HOT WATER. Hold the toothbrush in your subdominant hand. Whenever possible, do the opposite. This practice will help you stay present.
SPEED BUMP PRACTICE: Take each bump as slowly as possible. Imagine you have a full cup of hot tea balanced on the crown of your head. Feel everything, from the tires all the way up your spine. Then bring the same gentleness and patience to all the physical, mental and emotional speed bumps in your life.