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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Self Help Best Practices

I read A LOT of self help books and participate in a ton of self help programs, but trust me when I say it can be overwhelming (not to mention exhausting!) to implement all the advice and suggestions that are out there. Much of the stuff I come across is spot-on and has helped me create really fantastic results in my life. However, some of it is just so-so and hasn’t produced any results for me at all.

In an effort to help you sort through the myriads of self help techniques and information that exist in our world today, I've compiled a list of some my favorite self help practices that I’ve come across over the years (and used successfully). I've featured resources on my website for several of the techniques mentioned below, so if you would like additional resources be sure to click on the pink links!

Here's my list, in no particular order: (drumroll, please!)

1) Pray Rain Journaling: This is a simple, yet highly effective, technique whereby you keep a journal and write in it daily (or as often as you can) as if whatever you are trying to manifest in your life has already come true. The more imagination and details you can use in your journal entries, the better. The story goes that by the time you’ve finished your journal, your manifestation will either have already arrived or be well on its way to doing so! I use this technique in my own life and have created several amazing outcomes with it.

2) The Mirror Exercise: Learn how to love yourself once and for all with this exercise, which even some of the top self help gurus use in their own lives. Look in the mirror every night before bedtime, and flow as much love, acceptance, and compassion to yourself as you can. Also, be sure to acknowledge yourself for all the things you accomplished throughout the day. This may feel a bit uncomfortable or awkward the first few times you try it. Before you know it, though, you will be feeling extra great about yourself!

3) Visualization: I cannot recommend this method highly enough. Use your imagination to create pictures in your mind of what your ideal life looks like, or ideal scenarios you'd like to bring to fruition. Add as much detail to the pictures as you can, just like if you were watching a movie in your mind. Make sure to put yourself in your visualizations, and imagine yourself enjoying the presence of whatever it is you are trying to create. Do this even for just five minutes a day, and you will notice results in no time! For extra power, while doing your visualizations, really feel the feelings in your body that you would be experiencing if your manifestations had already come true.

4) Gratitude Journal: This is a particularly effective strategy to use if you notice yourself feeling like things just aren’t going well for you. Every day, record all the things you are currently grateful for in your life, no matter how large or small. You will be amazed at how much you really do have to be grateful for, even before all your dreams have manifested. You want to also list things you are intending to create in your life, but which haven’t arrived yet. Expressing gratitude for these things in advance, before they make an appearance in your reality, actually speeds up their arrival!

5) Meditation: If you have a particularly busy mind (and really, who doesn’t?), then this technique is a must-do. Even just five minutes of meditation a day can really change your life! Find a quiet spot in your home or office where you will be undisturbed and can have some time to yourself. Bring your focus inward, and take a few deep breaths to relax. Once you feel centered within yourself, bring your attention to your breathing. Just observe your breaths as you inhale in and out. If your mind wanders (which it will), just gently bring your attention back to your breath. Do this regularly and notice how much more calm and relaxed you feel!

6) Positive Aspects Journal: This idea comes from the original law of attraction teachers, Abraham-Hicks. This will help you turn around your thoughts about a “negative” situation or relationship in no time! Simply choose something that is bothering you, let’s say your significant other, and list as many positive aspects about him or her as you can. Only focus on the positive qualities of that individual, not the negative ones. Doing this on a regular basis has turned around many a relationship, and caused people to fall in love with their spouse or partner all over again! You can also use this technique on a particular situation that you feel badly about. List all the benefits you are actually experiencing from the so-called “negative” situation, and before you know it your situation will have completely turned around!

7) Evidence Journal: I love this technique! If there is something specific you are trying to create (a new relationship, new career, weight loss, etc.), it can often be frustrating if it seems like it’s not arriving fast enough. Start keeping an evidence journal, though, and you will notice that whatever it is you desire IS on its way to you, much faster than you realized! Record all the evidence you notice that your dream is coming true and that you are on the right path. Often times we overlook all the evidence that shows us our dream is just around the corner. By focusing on the evidence, not only will we feel better about our situation, but we actually speed up our particular manifestation!

Finally, if you're intrigued by the techniques above and would love to learn even more of my favorite self help practices, be sure to check out my new ebook! My ebook, Secrets to Creating Your Ideal Life: Everything I've Learned from Reading Hundreds (Maybe Thousands!) of Self Help Books Over the Years, has an abundance of tips, techniques, and resources that will have you leading your ideal life in no time! To read reviews and learn more, go here.


  1. Great list, Mary! I love the "Asking for Evidence" technique, too - I use it myself all the time and get my clients to use it, too!

    I would heartily recommend that everyone add a "release" technique of some sort to their regular self-help practices. My favourite one (of course, LOL!) is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). The Work (Byron Katie) and Sedona Method are other release techniques that get great results, too.

  2. Thanks, Karen! Ahh yes, you are so correct - ANY of those methods would be a great addition to my list! In fact, I love all of them:)

    For anyone reading this, Karen is an EFT guru so be sure to check out her site if you're interested in learning more about EFT!

  3. Great suggestions Mary! I too ask clients to journal about their successes / gratitudes and evidence they're heading in the right direction. Love this list - thank you!