According to one of the world’s leading experts in self-kindness, Kristin Neff, self-compassion is “the ability to notice our own suffering and to be moved by it, making us want to actively do something to alleviate our own suffering.” Having compassion for others may be simple to some, but accepting our own shortcomings and realizing we are still deserving of good things can be a difficult reality for most people.
The benefits of self-compassion, however, are numerous. Those who practice self-kindness have a lower risk of depression and anxiety, greater emotional intelligence, improved social connections, and higher satisfaction with life.
Practicing self-compassion doesn’t just affect your emotional and mental well-being but also your physical health. Self-kindness exercises decrease feelings of anxiety and threat, leading to reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones. These effects are linked to improved cardiovascular health and immune system functioning.
Treating people with compassion may come naturally to some, but we don't always treat ourselves with the same kindness. Check out some tips on how to make room for self-compassion in your life:
Take care of your body.
Taking good care of your body doesn’t just refer to exercise (although that can improve self-esteem). You can also comfort your body by lying down and resting, going for a slow walk to take your mind off things, or massaging your own feet, neck, or hands. Harvard Health Publishing says that any activity that makes you feel better physically can help improve self-compassion.
Treat yourself like a friend.
The next time you self-criticize or have negative thoughts about yourself, think about this: would you want to be friends with someone who said the same to you? Chances are, the answer is no.
Try treating yourself the way you would a close friend: Always be on their side, give them compliments when they do something right, and support them when they mess up. If you wouldn’t say something to your friend that you manage to say to yourself, consider using kinder or more forgiving words.
Self-compassion is not just about recognizing your strengths and being confident in them, but also recognizing what you may lack and being okay with that. Developing an understanding that you are human and will make mistakes can be difficult for someone with high expectations for themselves, but it is crucial in self-kindness exercises.
For example, the next time you try something new and fail, instead of thinking something like: “I’m never going to be good at this,” allow room for flaws and tell yourself: “Nobody is perfect right off the bat, I’ll try again later.”
Being mindful of your emotions and approaching them not with judgment, but with curiosity and openness can be beneficial in creating a more compassionate self. Practicing mindfulness allows you a space to look at your feelings, thoughts, and actions (whether positive or negative) with understanding and acceptance. Check out some guided self-compassion exercises here.
Write a letter.
Similarly to mindfulness, writing a letter to yourself about a situation that caused you to feel a negative emotion (pain, anger, regret) without judgment can help nurture your feelings. This is a more tangible approach to being mindful of your emotions and gives you an opportunity to see your issue and sort out some feelings that you haven’t figured out yet.
Well-being stems from the mind, and when your mind is telling you that you’re not enough, that can affect every aspect of wellness. Wellzesta strives to nurture positive feelings to achieve holistic wellness.
Life and Elevate’s daily wellness content gives users the resources they need to achieve this goal at their own pace.
Click here to learn more about Wellzesta or connect with a member of our Sales team.