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4 Essential Self-Help Tips From Gillian Anderson's New Book We
She co-wrote the guide with her friend Jennifer Nadel.
By Patti Greco
Cosmopolitan: March 7, 2017

Thanks to the book We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, co-written by Gillian Anderson and her British journalist friend Jennifer Nadel, I have a Post-It on my computer that reads, "My Name Is Patti. I am a good and kind person. I do not need to please everyone. I do enough. I am enough." The words are pulled from the book as part of an exercise that began with my writing down a negative thought I have about myself, and ended with my physically crossing it out and replacing it with this positive one. Say what you will about how cheesy that sounds: it helps! The book, a mashup of spiritual and self-help advice from various sages and sources, is filled with these sorts of exercises, all intended to teach you 9 life principals - honesty, acceptance, courage, trust, humility, peace, love, joy, kindness. Here, four tips to take with you today.

1. ACT ["Action Changes Things"]

It's not enough to read advice - you have to actually take action. "You read a book and you feel uplifted for a moment and you think, OK, I've got it sorted," Jennifer says. "But... knowing something isn't enough in and of itself. I have to change how I behave. And then it's, how do we change how we behave?" Before you even start learning the 9 principles, you'll read about four essential practices - gratitude, gentleness (being kind to yourself), responsibility (taking care of yourself), and meditation - that serve as groundwork.

2. Show gratitude

The book argues that making an effort to show gratitude, one of the aforementioned essential practices, can give you an overall more positive outlook on life. Each day you're instructed to write down 10 things you're grateful for. At first, you might find this difficult, but over time it gets easier - you'll spend more time each day actively trying to notice things you're grateful for. Instead of focusing your attention on the man who cut you off on your morning commute, you notice the woman who smiled at you kindly at the bagel shop.

"There are sometimes when I've had to remember that, even if I hate a job, I can still be grateful for the job in my life," Gillian says. "There are so many things that I could fight against that are actually gifts... I have to keep remembering that everything, absolutely every moment of my life that I am awake and alive and getting to live with the freedom that I have, is a blessing."

3. Create time and space for yourself

"Sometimes working on some of the jobs that I do, it's 16, 17 hours," Gillian says. The question becomes, "on a logistical level, how do I work under that kind of intensity and still be able to practice forms of self-care, whether it's sleeping [enough], eating correctly, so I don't act out my depletions on other people?" (Sleeping and eating well fall under the essential practice of "responsibility.")

To make time for self-care, cut out the useless time-sucks in your life. Perhaps it's excessive internet use or too much time watching reruns. "I push myself pretty hard and one of the things I have to work at most is just, on a daily basis, trying to create that space," Gillian says. "The minute that I have a spare 20 minutes, I [don't have to] jump on my phone or answer emails. I really, really struggle with that."

4. Ban perfectionism

"No matter what age you are with women, we're always trying to be perfect," Jennifer says. "How we look, how we dress, how we behave. We use perfectionism to beat ourselves up. The word needs to be banned."

"Writing this book," Gillian adds, "We're not saying that we've got it all figured out and that we have the answers, necessarily. I trip up on a daily basis. But I think that trying to the best of my ability to embrace these principles and live by them - it reverberates. If I live [the principles] and take care of my own stuff, it rubs off. People can pick up on that."

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