You’re not alone during difficult times, although you may feel it. Show compassion and kindness to yourself and others, be thankful and make the most of what you have.
We’ve all had those moments, or even days, where we just want to lock ourselves away and shut the world out, to just be on our own and take stock. Well there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and in fact self compassion and recognising your own need to go easy on yourself is actually really key to your mental wellbeing.
Studies have found that just one month of incorporating self-compassion in day-to-day life can increase psychological wellbeing and help buffer against anxiety, (Neff et al., 2007). Try considering these three things:
- Treat yourself as you would a close friend or family member, extend the same kindness and understanding to yourself as you would offer to them, rather than being harsh, self-critical and judgemental on yourself. We are usually our own harshest critic and we can be quick to place any blame on ourselves. Be aware of how you judge yourself and others. Acknowledge that it isn’t just you that experiences these thoughts about ourselves or our abilities, so you are not alone. It is part of the human experience.
2. Use self-compassionate phrases, maybe write them down to reflect on if you are struggling. Put them in a diary, a post-it note on your cupboard, or even put them in your phone.
- “I’m doing the best I can right now”
- “It’s okay to be imperfect”
- “This is a moment of suffering, but I am going to overcome this struggle”
- “May I be kind to myself in this moment?”
- “May I give myself the compassion I need?”
- It is equally important however to remember that you might not find an answer to your suffering or you might not have the ability to meet your needs right now, but allowing yourself to have a moment of self-compassion can certainly help.
- Hold any thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness and try not to make negative judgements of yourself.
- Try to be kind to yourself. If you wouldn’t use the words towards a close friend or family member, then don’t use them on yourself.
- Start small; don’t expect too much too soon. Being more self-compassionate takes time and effort, but the rewards are great. Good luck!
Remember you are not alone during difficult times, although you may feel it. Charities such as Mind, Samaritans, Rethink and Anxiety UK are available and offer invaluable support if you need to talk to someone.