We have all had it tough this past year. The pandemic has wrought all kinds of complications and problems for many. From loved ones that died from the disease to loss of employment, there are many ways people have been deeply affected. It is now more important than ever to be kind to ourselves amid such tribulations.
2021 is a new opportunity to do better than 2020. Being a new year it probably started with many making resolutions to do and be better. People make all kinds of promises, from intending to learn a new skill to getting more exercise. Most however give up on their resolutions before January comes to an end.
Having compassion for oneself is however something we can all focus on given the great payoff. Being more understanding and forgiving when things go wrong in your life can help lead to a healthier mindset, relationships, and overall wellbeing.
What Is Self-Compassion?
Compassion makes us able to be more understanding and supportive of others that are going through difficulties. It is what stirs our emotions when we see others in trouble and motivates us to try and help. Our compassion gives a warm and caring attitude, and willingness to help without judging. When you turn these feelings inward, it comes self-compassion.
When things go wrong in life, people will often react in one of two ways. Blame others or blame themselves. Neither option is helpful. Criticizing oneself can have an even deeper effect of undervaluing one’s sense of worth that stunts personal and professional growth.
With self-compassion, you seek to comfort and care for yourself with kindness and understanding. Practicing this behavior helps put an end to needless self-recrimination and judgment. Rather than tell yourself you are a failure, you rather focus on accepting you are capable of making mistakes and encountering problems. That you are human that sometimes falls short of the ideal. Accepting this reality will give you a greater sense of compassion for yourself and others.
Fortunately, self-compassion is a skill that can be learned. By practicing certain habits, we can come to recognize when we are suffering and how to be kind to ourselves, resulting in lower levels of stress and anxiety.
How To Boost Self-Compassion
1. Comfort yourself
Whenever you feel that you are stressed or anxious, give yourself a moment to self-soothe. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Place your hand over your heart and voice out a compassionate statement like “All is well”. You can even lie down and rest, or massage your feet and neck. These simple physical acts can be a good way to grant yourself some inner peace and clear your mind of negative thoughts. Once you get back to whatever task you were engaged in, you should be able to better focus.
2. Think objectively
Take some time to sit down and think about what has happened. Be as non-judgmental as you can about it. Accept that you are capable of mistakes and this does not change how your family, friends, and colleagues view you. They value you for who you are and not because you are infallible.
Think about your fears. Anxiety often stems from unfelt fear. Explore what would happen if they came true and then go back to comfort yourself. Think of how you would encourage and comfort a friend that was going through such hardships. Direct those responses to yourself and give yourself a boost.
3. Express Gratitude
Take time to consider the positive things happening in your life, no matter how small. From being able to eat three square meals a day to the freedom to enjoy a walk in nature. Gratitude can be a very powerful emotion that overcomes negative thoughts. Appreciating what you have can help promote better sleep and nurture a more helpful and generous attitude.
It also makes people feel less isolated and lonely. Many attribute their blessings to a higher spiritual power or fate. Whatever you believe in, it can be uplifting to remind oneself of all the good things in life.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can have a strong impact on self-compassion. It makes people less self-critical and encourages them to be more present in the moment. They take more notice of what is happening without judgment. This can be particularly vital when we are going through something upsetting.
Mindfulness encourages us to maintain perspective and adapt our mindset to being more open and curious than simply having negative thoughts about the experience. You can take just a few minutes to practice this behavior, learning how to calm, comfort, and nurture yourself through painful situations.
5. Create a self-care routine
This relates to more than just the activities we make a part of our daily routine. Though keeping to healthy habits like regular exercise, a good diet, and enough sleep is important, self-care can also apply to how we relax and maintain stable well-being.
Practices like journaling and meditating are a good way to work through painful situations like a bad breakup or failure are work. Writing down your experience without judgment or blaming anyone can help in working through and nurturing your feelings.