05 Jan Practicing Self Compassion
As has been discussed already this month by Psychologist Darren West here at Prosper Self Compassion is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves. We so often spend time giving compassion to other people showing them we care, giving them our attention, help and empathy. What stops us turning this inwards and giving this to ourselves?
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself self-compassion means you are kind and understanding to yourself, giving yourself care and warmth and kindness.
Ways to Practice Self Compassion
There are so many ways to practice self-compassion. However, the key in self-compassion is to first recognise that you are suffering. Check in with your body, where are you feeling the pain, discomfort or distress. Can you notice a tightness in some area more than others. How are you feeling, what are your emotions telling you.
The second step is to stop, take a deep belly breath. Take a moment to just be, just you and your body.
Third, offer yourself a phrase of self-compassion. Some examples may be: “May I be kind to myself”, “I can give myself the compassion I need”, “It is ok to struggle, I can get through this moment”, “I forgive myself”, “I can be patient in this moment for myself”.
Fourth, find an activity or task that allows you to re-focus on giving back to yourself. This may be a mindfulness activity (Psychologist Pek Lee will cover this next week), it may be doing something physical and active, engaging in a hobby, doing a task that you always put off, indulging in yourself.
Some examples of self-compassion activities can include:
Healing Hands Activity: Let the kindness flow from your fingers into your body. Now use both of your hands in one kind gesture. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Let them gently rest there, and hold yourself kindly. Take as long as you wish to sit in this manner, connecting with yourself, caring for yourself, contributing comfort and support.
Write it down: this can be journaling or brain dumping, it can be productive for problem solving or it can be just about getting it out of your head and your body.
Practice Gratitude: What are you grateful for about the world around you, people in your life AND YOURSELF.
How would you treat a friend: Ask yourself, if a friend was in my position, what would I say to them? What would I offer them? How would I treat them?
Identify what you really want: What is your body asking for right now? A good meal, a rest, exercise, time with a supportive friend?
Engage in an activity or hobby: Exercise, stretch, do some baking, colouring in, reading, have a picnic in the park, sit on a swing, watch the waves at the beach. Find the activity that gives your mind and body and rest and brings you back the warmth and positive kindness you need.
Write your own self-compassion A-Z list.
A. Acknowledge your areas of difficulty
B. Breathing exercises
D. Develop a self-compassion phrase- “This is a moment of difficulty, I can be kind to myself in this moment”
E. Engage with my surroundings
F. Friends- contact someone
Now you continue, make your own self-compassion A-Z.
Additional Resources you might find helpful include:
Still feeling stuck? Get in contact with us at Prosper and one of our Psychologists will get you on the path to self-compassion.