By Amanda Neilson, Manager of Clinical Practice
Would you like to:
- Decrease anxiety and depression?
- Find healthy ways of dealing with difficult emotions?
- Increase your feelings of social connectedness?
- Feel more life satisfaction?
- Experience greater happiness, optimism, wisdom, curiosity and motivation?
- Be physically healthier?
Research shows that practising self-compassion regularly is an effective way to reach all of the above!
So, what is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is learning how to be our own best friend instead of our own worst enemy, especially in times we need support most. It is reminding ourselves that we too have strengths and we too struggle, just like everyone else.
Self-compassion is not:
- Self-Esteem (Self-esteem is based on what we achieve.)
- False Positivity (“Just be happy…silver lining…positive vibes only!”)
- Making Excuses
Self-compassion is made up of three parts: mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness.
Mindfulness – Acknowledge what is going on at this very moment without judgement. It means being aware of our experience – thoughts, emotions, sensations – without avoiding it or criticizing it.
Common humanity – Remind yourself that you are not alone. The very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable and imperfect. That means reminding ourselves that EVERYONE fails, EVERYONE makes mistakes, EVERYONE experiences hardship in life. We are not alone in our suffering.
Self-kindness – Support bringing kindness to yourself. This means practising treating ourselves with care and understanding rather than beating ourselves up or tearing ourselves down.
So how do we practise self-compassion?
Here are some examples of how you can start practising self-compassion today:
Ask Yourself “What’s my Level of Self-Compassion?”
Test how self-compassionate you currently are and get strategies to help increase self-compassion. Take the test here.
Use Self-Compassion Phrases
The following phrases can be helpful to practise saying to yourself when you notice that you are stressed or struggling or experiencing emotional pain:
- This is a moment of suffering
- Suffering is a part of life
- May I be kind to myself
- May I give myself the compassion I need
Watch and Complete this Self-Compassion Video and Exercise
“Full acceptance of ourselves, moment to moment, makes it easier to adapt and change in the direction we’d like to go.”