2020 has been a tough one that’s for sure! That is why it is now more important than ever, for us to acknowledge our feelings and work towards a more balanced and content mindset for 2021. This is where self-compassion comes into play. As noted on PositivePsychology.com, self-compassion is all about being gentle, kind and understanding with yourself. It is about accepting that you are not perfect and understanding that there is always potential for learning and growth (Neff, 2003).
A Self Compassion Exercise
If you are feeling anxious or self-critical, here is one handy exercise to consider:
1. Self-Care. Perform an act of self-care as part of a daily routine. Choose something that is soothing for you. Whether it is going on an afternoon stroll, lighting a fragrant candle, having an Epson salt bath, a clay or sheet facemask, a jam session to some favourite music – the options are endless, just choose something that works for you.
2. Mindfulness. After performing your act of self-care, now is the time to use this now calm-mindset to perform some mindfulness. Take note of your thoughts and feelings, acknowledging what you are going through. It is also handy to bring yourself into the present, taking note of the five senses – detail what you can see, hear, smell, touch and maybe taste. Taking a step back from what is overloading your mind, acknowledging your feelings and separating yourself from the critical thought is what can make a real difference.
3. Self-Compassion. Now is the time to ask yourself some important questions, prompts that will encourage you to be more kind to yourself and find solace from the negative thinking. Questions to ask yourself include: what would you say to a friend? What is a self-soothe statement that would help you when feeling anxious or self-critical? How does this negative thought help me? (Hint: it doesn’t!)