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Part 17. The art of Self-reinforcement—giving yourself pats on the back

By Pam Garcy

Do you drive your car around, never refueling or getting tune-ups?.

Do you spend the money in your bank account without making deposits?.

Do you ask your friends for favors, never giving back in return?.

Usually, taking requires replenishing. We inherently know this when it comes to our cars, our bank accounts and our friendships. But, when it comes to ourselves, we often forget to give ourselves the necessary pats on the back that we deserve after working hard.

I remember that when I was in graduate school, I often pushed myself and wouldn't take time to replenish. I didn't know that I needed to do this for myself. All of a sudden, one day, I felt burnt out. I didn't know why. This is when I began to study the process of burnout. I learned that burnout sometimes happens when the level of output greatly exceeds the level of input.

As I was learning, one of my grad school buddies talked to me about taking breaks. "It's a good thing to take breaks," she said in earnest, attempting to convince me to do so. She explained that when she took 3 or 4 hours off of studying, she would return refreshed and could accomplish her work in half the time. "So, it is like I'm accomplishing two things in the same amount of time--fun and work, instead of just work." She was right.

I started to take breaks and realized how important and valuable these were.

Breaks became a type of reward for me. I found that during these breaks I could return to enjoying my life and refueling.

What is rewarding for you? Do you take the time to replenish and reward yourself?.

Give it a try and see what happens.

For many people, it is good to take small breaks every few hours. Optimally, it is also good to take one full day off each week, simply to rejuvenate. When you can, it is important to take vacations as well. Although work is a great part of life, it is also important to make time for other things, such as loving, laughing, seeing new places, exploring, remembering, learning and renewing.

Taking breaks and reinforcing yourself with pleasure-filled moments are like making deposits in a bank account. The more you do this, the more resources you'll have when you need them. So, don't be stingy!

When you are stepping away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, you can also take the time to tune into your inner guidance. Breathe deeply and reconnect with yourself, what you have been doing, what you are going to do, your direction, your values and the meaning that you want to live.

Pam Garcy, PhD is a Psychologist and Coach in Dallas, Texas. If you'd like a partner in reaching your goals and overcoming the obstacles that seem to stand in your way, please contact Dr. Pam for coaching at Dr. Garcy offers a special 10% coaching discount to all valued subscribers of Cultivate Life and to customers of Dr. Pam's best-selling books - including the bestsellers The Power of Inner Guidance: Seven Steps to Tune In and Turn On and Wake Up Moments of Inspiration

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