Learn how to be kinder to yourself with these personal insights and self-love tips from nutritionist and eating disorder specialist Anna Sweeney. In a world that still has so much to learn about body positivity, it’s helpful to know how to best cater to yourself in times of stress, anxiety, chaos, and unrest. Finding affirming methods can help heal your soul, nurture your mind, and care for your physical body and overall health. Yes, endlessly scrolling through Instagram for self-love quotes is one method. However, we’re here to streamline it for you with help from Anna Sweeney, MS, RD, LDN, CEDRD-S, of Whole Life Nutrition. Keep reading to understand how swapping negative thinking for positive psychology works wonders. Plus: Anna’s top five self-love tips that are worth adhering to every day.
Anna Sweeney on Finding Radical Self-Love“Self-love—and I don’t mean the hearts and flowers kind, but the radical self-love that comes from leaving behind all societal expectation, all notions of needing to earn, and a belief in inherent worthiness—is critical for me always, and for all as a global community,” says Anna, who lives with MS. “My journey to self-love hasn’t been smooth or without bumps and bruises, nasty self-talk, and pain. Still, it’s left me stronger, despite my disease leaving me physically weaker.”
Swap Negative Self-Talk for AcceptanceFor Anna, her journey to radical self-love began roughly 20 years ago, when she first started navigating life with MS. “I spoke very negatively about my body, to myself and the people around me,” she admits. “And then I started using a sh*t-talk jar. And for every negative thing I said, and eventually every negative thing I thought, I put a dollar in the jar.” While this process took Anna a long time to overcome her mental habits, it allowed her to donate a substantial amount of money to an eating disorder organization in her community. She was able to do this by moving away from what she believed was self-protective negative talk and moved into a process of acceptance that she didn’t know was possible. “But it is—for all of us,” she reassures.
Tap into the Power of Kindness“By monetizing this experience, I embarked on a journey of neuroplasticity and I changed my brain. I stopped speaking unkindly because I realized that I had two options: speak unkindly and have a progressive illness and disability and feel worse about myself, or speak gently, feel a little better, and still have a chronic illness. I didn’t change the outcome, but I’ve changed the process,” she elucidates. Now that you have a better idea of how Anna Sweeney can relate to the issue not just through her patients but firsthand, it’s time to uncover her go-to self-love tips. Here’s hoping they can help you embrace your body and mind, navigate your worst days, and inspire you to feel your best.
5 Self-Love Tips from Anna Sweeney
1. Acknowledge your worth“Practice deep acknowledgment of your inherent value on this planet, for just being a person,” Anna suggests. “You don’t need to earn this value; it came with you the moment you came into the planet. You’re not worthy because of your accomplishments; you’re worthy because you’re here.”
2. Challenge negative self-talkAt the end of the day, you’re human and it’s normal for negative thoughts to arise. Instead of getting hung up on them, Anna says to notice them, name them, and let them go.
3. Ask for help“As an independent person, this step was hard for me for a very long time,” Anna admits. “At this stage in my life, I need help to get through my day to day. For a long time, I thought that my need for other people was related to my disease. But when I think about it more, we all need other people. There’s no shame in seeking human connection or asking for assistance.”
4. Connect with yourself + your surroundings“Connect to your breath, or to the earth,” Anna says. “For years, I’ve collected worry stones. They’re smooth rocks that have been battered by the ocean and transformed from something rough into something smooth and soothing. I’m reminded of resilience and the need to endure when I connect to these stones.” “Be it 10 breaths or 30 minutes of breathing,” she continues, “connecting to myself and the world makes being here more grounding.”
5. Don’t compare yourself to othersWhile it’s a difficult feat, to say the least, Anna suggests acknowledging your humanity when you find yourself getting stuck in a comparison spiral. Then, practice self-love by getting curious about what makes you feel inclined to compare. “Eleanor Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy,” she starts. “I believe that comparison is the thief of everything. But it’s also an excellent pointer in the direction of something bigger at play.” If you enjoy Anna Sweeney’s self-love tips, heed her advice and read The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love by Sonya Renee Taylor. This book has been transformative in her work and personal prowess, and a read she recommends to everyone.
More like this