So you’ve started taking walks, journaling — even doing mindful meditation as a way to improve your mental well-being. But what about being kind to yourself? Sure, extending kindness to others can be easy. But cultivating compassion for ourselves? Not so much.
Yet without self-directed empathy, our deepest fears and worries can take over, activating our worst inner-critics.
One way to quiet these negative thoughts is to practice self-compassion. Psychologist and compassion researcher, Kristin Neff defines self-compassion as “honor[ing] and accept[ing] our humanness,” similar to the way we accept our friends and loved ones.
You can incorporate self-compassion exercises into your meditation or during your time of self-reflection.
Tips for incorporating self-compassion into your routine
Here’s one way to incorporate self-compassion into your well-being repertoire:
- Think of something that’s stressing you out.
- Notice the thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that arise as you ponder this distress.
- Acknowledge your suffering.
- Place your hand on your heart and extend loving kindness by saying:
- May I give myself the compassion I need.
- May I learn to accept myself as I am.
- May I forgive myself.
- May I be strong.
- May I be patient.
You can also find other self-compassion exercises here.
Juli Fraga is a licensed psychologist based in San Francisco, California. She graduated with a PsyD from University of Northern Colorado and attended a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley. Passionate about women’s health, she approaches all her sessions with warmth, honesty, and compassion. See what she’s up to on Twitter.