At the start of a new year many of us set goals to improve our health and wellbeing – but research shows most of us will have given up on these goals by February. After the two years we’ve just had we think it’s important to be kind to yourself in 2022. Have you thought about incorporating self-compassion into your daily routine?
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is not self-pity or self-indulgence, it is about actively caring for our emotional and physical wellbeing, and motivating ourselves toward behaviour that is helpful, not harmful. Over time this helps build resilience and is a powerful coping tool.
Self-compassion is about turning towards difficult and painful feelings and taking action to ease pain and suffering, rather than ignoring it or judging ourselves.
To better understand self-compassion, take a look at the three main pillars:
Self-kindness: This means having a willingness to take care of ourselves and to challenge our inner-critic. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. To learn how to start shifting negative thoughts, take a look at THIS WAY UP'S Thought Challenging worksheet.
Common humanity: Remember, all humans suffer. It is a normal experience- ‘everybody hurts sometimes’. By recognising and understanding others’ suffering and vulnerability, we are likely to feel less alone. Take a look at the short animation below that shows some of life’s challenges – and the help that is available.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is about sitting with uncomfortable feelings in a non-judgmental way, and putting some distance on them. “I am having this experience, but I’m not defined by this experience.”
The short video below shows you how mindfulness helps you manage in the moment.
How to Practise Self-Compassion
To practice self-compassion, we must be able to:
Identify our current patterns in responding to our own suffering
How do you react when you have made a mistake? Do you tend to react with self-criticism, judgment and punishment? If so, what impact does this have? Is it helpful or harmful?
While many of us tend to believe that self-criticism is important in upholding high standards for ourselves, it can be a harmful, unhelpful way to treat ourselves.
Learn to notice rather than judge our own suffering
It's easy to notice that we're suffering when we're sad, disappointed, hurt or grieving. It can be harder, however, to notice that we're suffering when we're angry or anxious, perhaps because we're feeling threatened or attacked.
Learning to notice your own suffering and allowing yourself to be with that suffering takes great strength and courage. It is hugely important, however, because our suffering does not go away just because we ignore it! Kind of like a young child wanting your attention, it will persevere until you take notice!
Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Where in my body do I feel it? What does it feel like? What is it trying to tell me?
Learn to respond to our suffering with compassion
Having noticed that we are suffering, it is important to then ask yourself, how can I be helpful, not harmful? What does your suffering really need? Would it help to criticise or ignore your suffering? Does it need some reassurance, rest or support?
Learning to care for your own suffering can be extremely challenging, especially if you have grown up in an environment that has not taught you to do so. Just because it feels unfamiliar, however, does not mean it's not working! It just takes a while to learn, try to be kind and patient with yourself.
Here are some examples of self-compassion affirmations that you can incorporate into your daily life. Try writing them down or saying them out loud in front of a mirror:
It’s okay to make mistakes, nobody is perfect – and I am learning to forgive myself.
It is not selfish to show kindness to myself.
I will try not to let self-doubt or judgment hold me back from reaching my goals.
I will try to be fully present when completing a task today.
I am allowed to say no to others and yes to myself.
Changing is not easy, but it’s easier if I stop being hard on myself.
Self-Compassion = Learning New Skills in 2022
The art of self-compassion can come from recognising that you are suffering and having the desire to learn new skills to help you manage. If you’re unsure, you can check your levels of stress, anxiety, or low mood and see if you might benefit from learning some of our specific programs to improve your quality of life. Take a look at THIS WAY UP'S Take-A-Test Tool.
If you're struggling with self-compassion, chat to our team at Sonder about getting a free prescription for one of THIS WAY UP's programs. Sonder has teamed up with THIS WAY UP to provide you access to evidence-based, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs that help with managing your mental health. If you want to find out more about THIS WAY UP or any of it's programs, head over here.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information sourced from: THIS WAY UP
Image sourced from: Getty Images
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.