Happy Mental Health Monday! Last week I talked you through low self-esteem and self-criticism and explained how our self-esteem contributes to our mental health. This week we are going to focus on self-compassion and how that can keep our soothe system in check.
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is the act of kindness, understanding, and awareness towards ourselves. Dr Kristin Neff is a leading figure in self-compassion and how it impacts our mental health, she has developed a series of talks on the topic and I have included one below for you to watch!
Being compassionate towards ourselves can be very difficult. As we looked at last time, self-criticism is biologically instinctive because of how we perceive the world and its dangers. We are wired to focus on the negatives and protect ourselves from downfall, so it will be a challenge but it is one worth facing.
How do I be more self-compassionate?
Being more self-compassionate is about identifying our positive qualities and balancing out our self-critical thoughts. It is important to regain our perspective when our negative thoughts, worries, and predictions from our threat system go into overdrive. We also need to keep an eye on that drive system and make sure we are not setting the bar too high for ourselves. Ultimately we need to review how we think and act and check that it is in a compassionate way. A common way of doing this is asking ourselves ‘would you say that to a loved one?’ and ‘what would you say to a friend who did the same?’
My top tips to improve your self-compassion are:
- Take time to record your successes and celebrate them
- Note down your positive qualities at the end of the day
- Read through your qualities and achievements regularly
- Practice self-care; if you need inspiration look no further!
- Give yourself the night off once in a while!
I have added in some resources that you can work through and read through to improve your self-compassion:
Do you think you are self-compassionate? Or are you your harshest critic? Let me know in the comments!