Mindful self-compassion involves being aware of one’s thoughts and feelings and treating oneself with kindness, empathy, and understanding. In this post, we will explore the benefits of mindful self-compassion, provide examples of how to practice it, and share expert opinions on the topic.
Benefits of Mindful Self-Compassion
According to research, practicing mindful self-compassion can have numerous benefits for our well-being. A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that people who regularly practice self-compassion experience reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. Additionally, those folks reported increased levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and resilience in the face of difficulties.
Mindful Self-Compassion Practice
Practicing can take many forms, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Here are a few examples:
- Mindful Breathing – Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, focusing on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation – This practice involves sending love, kindness, and compassion to yourself and others. Begin by bringing to mind someone you love and repeating the phrase “May you be happy, healthy, and safe.”
- Positive Self-Talk – As the Bard said: Talk to yourself as you would talk to a good friend. Use kind and encouraging language and avoid negative self-talk.
Mindful Self-Compassion: What It’s Not
According to Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in research on self-compassion, it’s not about self-pity or self-indulgence. Rather, it’s about recognizing that everyone suffers and therefore we should be kind and understanding toward ourselves as we navigate life’s challenges.
Similarly, others point out that mindful self-compassion is not a form of self-improvement or self-help; it is a way of life. In fact, we’ve seen that it can help people build resilience, manage stress, and cultivate positive emotions and relationships.
Practicing Mindful Self-Compassion: The Case of Beth
Beth is a very successful chiropractor whose business took off after Covid. She decided to work with one of our experts because she felt stressed and overwhelmed with patients and all the paperwork. Instead of beating herself up for not being productive enough or being too anxious, her coach taught her to practice mindful self-compassion. Here’s an excerpt from one of Beth’s sessions so that you can follow along:
Start by taking a few deep breaths and reminding yourself that it’s okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Tell yourself that everyone feels this way at times and that it’s a normal part of the human experience.
Next, practice positive self-talk by reminding yourself of your strengths and capabilities. You might say something like, “I am capable of handling this work-load, and I have done it before.”
Finally, practice self-care by taking a break from work to do something that makes you feel good. For example, going for a walk, taking a relaxing bath, or calling a friend for support.
With her coach’s support, Beth was able to shift to being more grateful for the abundance in her life.
Mindful-Self-Compassion: Practice, Practice, Practice
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can take practice, but with time and effort, it can become a natural habit. As we said earlier, the benefits of practicing mindful self-compassion are numerous. They include reduced levels of stress and anxiety, increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and improved relationships with others.
It’s important to remember that this type of practice does not mean that we are ignoring our problems. Instead, it means that we are acknowledging our struggles. So we treat ourselves with the same kindness, empathy, and understanding that we would show to a friend who’s in need.
In conclusion, practicing mindful self-compassion can help us navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience. Whether through meditation, positive self-talk, or other spiritual practices, we can become more at peace with ourselves and the world around us.