When we are under copious amounts of stress, we all tend to think the worst of ourselves. Try this simple practice to adopt self-compassion the next time you are being too hard on yourself. This is also one of the practice we did over here at 180 Sanctuary as a form of daily self-compassion.
As human beings we can tend to be our own worst critic. Being kind and compassionate to our inner self doesn’t always come naturally. Here is a mindfulness practice that I like to call “Be Kinder to Yourself”. I have broken it down into some simple steps so that you may foster self-compassion any time of day and give yourself a break!
- 1. Think of a situation in your life that is currently causing you distress
It could possibly be a difficult relationship, a concern you have for a loved one or maybe even a challenge at work or school. It’s usually best to go with the first thing that comes to mind.
- 2. Now that the situation is in your mind, give your body a scan and see if you recognize any part of your body that may be holding stress
Stress is held in different parts of the body for each person. Here are some common areas where stress and emotional discomfort are felt. These may include muscle spasms, jaw tension, back pain, neck pain and/or a headache.
- 3. Say to yourself, “What I am feeling right now is a moment of suffering”.
Take this moment to notice how you are currently feeling, please take note that this is done without judgment to yourself. Do not put a good or bad label on what you are currently experiencing. Simply be mindful of it and acknowledge the pain or stress that is there.
- 4. Say to yourself, “We all struggle in our lives. Suffering is a part of life”.
We all suffer in life. Navigating the difficult situations is a common experience that connects you with the rest of humanity. Remind yourself that other people also feel this way and that you are not alone.
- 5. Put both of your hands over your heart. Take a deep breath in and exhale. Say to yourself “May I be kind to myself”.
Take note of the warmth that is radiating from your hands onto your beating chest. Tune into this tender feeling of self-kindness. Try saying one of the phrases listed below, whisper love and compassion into your heart. Feel free to change the phrase to whatever it is that you need to be hearing right now.
- “May I learn to accept myself as I am.”
- “May I understand the word compassion.”
- “May I count my blessings.”
- “May I give myself the love and kindness that I need.”
- “May I find serenity and peace.”
- “May I be strong.”
- “May I forgive myself”.
You can go through these five simple steps any time that you are carrying difficult of negative emotions. This mindfulness practice will remind you that as a person you are worthy of compassion and love no matter how down you are feeling.