5 Tips For Practicing Self-Compassion

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Learn To Be Kind…Not Just To Others But To Yourself As Well

BY NATALIE KATALINIC

When a friend or family member is having a hard time, you’re probably helpful and compassionate. You might validate how your loved one is feeling, help them to focus on their strengths, offer to do something nice, or give them a helping hand.

Are you self-compassionate or self-critical?

Are you self-compassionate or self-critical?

When it’s you who’s struggling, things are different. Compassion gets replaced with self-criticism and we end up making ourselves feel worse not better.

Practicing self-compassion is vital. It’s not selfish or self-indulgent, it’s a necessity. Life can throw us all kinds of curve balls and you’re no different than anyone else, you need looking after every now and then as well.

So what are some strategies to practice self-compassion? Well here’s 5 tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Be Mindful Of Your Self Talk

When you take the time to notice you might be surprised at how critical your self-talk is. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t say to a friend what you’re thinking about yourself, don’t let your head get away with it. If your head tells you ‘you’re so stupid, you’re always making mistakes’, focus on the facts. Do you really ALWAYS make mistakes or is your head exaggerating. Hold your head accountable and don’t just assume it’s right.

Tip #2: Soothe Yourself With Your Senses

Doing something nice and soothing is the last thing we think to do when we’re distressed, but it’s also often what we need the most. Burn a scented candle. Go outside and watch the sunset. Listen to music that you find beautiful. Wrap yourself up in a fluffy blanket. Eat a comforting childhood meal. Do whatever helps you to feel relaxed and comforted.

Tip #3: Develop A Self-Compassion Mantra

Have some standard compassionate phrases ready and on standby, for example: ‘I’m doing a good job, it’s ok to make mistakes’ or ‘I am good enough, I’m not supposed to be perfect’. Write them out and stick them to your mirror or your fridge, put them in your wallet – anywhere you’ll see them on a regular basis – and look at them when you’re having a bad day.

Tip #4: How Would You Show Compassion To Others?

Think about what you would tell a friend if they were in your situation, and then use this to guide your self-talk. Why should you deserve those kind words any less?

Tip #5: Remember Your Strengths

Finally, remember comments others have made about your strengths. Perhaps you’ve been told by a loved one that they admire your resilience or your level of calm in stressful situations. Remind yourself of the compliments you’ve had from loved ones and try to accept and not dismiss their kinds words.

Natalie is a warm and compassionate registered psychologist with a Masters of Clinical Psychology degree who is experienced in various evidence-based therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She specialises in working with adults and teens experiencing major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, grief and loss, identity concerns, relationship difficulties, and stressful life events in general.


 

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