One of the fastest ways to manage stress is to build self-compassion. Self-compassion might seem silly or self-serving, but it happens to be a fast way to get in right relationship with your mind. Dr. Kristen Neff, whose research coined the phrase, notes that self-compassion is comprised of 3 things: mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity. Try these self-compassion practices to support your wellbeing.
- Common Humanity Practice – this practice stems from the knowledge that all humans suffer. When you struggle with a situation in your life and find yourself getting down on yourself or beating yourself up, try the following words: “I am suffering. All humans suffer. I am going to take loving care of myself in the midst of this suffering. I will give myself the kindness and compassion I need in this moment.”
- Notice when your inner critic – that not so kind voice in your head – is speaking loudly to you. Instead of taking what it says to heart, take a deep breath, let it know you hear it and then ask it to kindly quiet down. Then replace that voice with the kind voice of a best friend. Say somethings you really need to hear with this kind voice. Notice how your mind and body feel after.
- When you are anxious about something in the future or an incident from the past, see if you can bring your attention to something in the present moment such as a plant, picture you love, etc. Take a deep breath and ask yourself some questions to get mindful about what is happening in your automatic mind. Start with, what am I so afraid of, anxious about, etc.? Once you know the answer, ask yourself if there is anything you need to do about the situation to put your mind at ease. And if there is, take action right away. It’s amazing what happens when you slow the process down and mindfully attend to what’s arising in your thoughts.