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Time to Be Kind… to Ourselves!
Be careful what you say to yourself because you are listening.
~ Lisa M. Hayes
What is mindful self-compassion?
Mindful self-compassion is the practice of being nicer to yourself and paying attention to your needs, thoughts and feelings. It's about treating yourself like you would a friend, even if you made a big mistake or feel like you're not good enough.
There are three parts to mindful self-compassion:
Self-kindness: treating ourselves with acceptance, warmth and encouragement. What we do for our friends, but often struggle to do this for ourselves.
Common humanity: reminding ourselves that everyone in the world is a work in progress, no one is perfect, even if it seems like they are. Life is hard and you're not alone!
Mindfulness: being aware and open to our thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness encourages us to accept our thoughts and feelings instead of fighting them. For example, if you're feeling sad you might tell yourself to get over it. If you're being mindful you will acknowledge your feelings and think about what you need in that moment.
Why does it matter?
Being kind to yourself can actually help you in the long run. Accepting your emotions, giving yourself what you need and reminding yourself that you're not alone in your experience can help you move forward instead of getting stuck.
Studies back this up as well! Many studies have shown that you actually get further ahead if you're nice to yourself. The benefits of mindful self-compassion are
- Less stress
- Less depression
- Less anxiety
- Less shame
- Feel more connected with others
- Feel more satisfied with life
- Feel happier in general
If you want to learn more about what the research says about mindful self-compassion check out the studies by self-compassion.org.
If you feel like you aren't very kind to yourself that's ok! This is something you can practice and learn as you go.
How can you integrate it into your life?
If you're interested in being more self compassionate, here are some ideas to get you started:
What can you do if you're struggling?
Looking at the negative beliefs we have about ourselves can be painful. If you need support throughout the process, consider calling a support or crisis line.
Additionally, you might benefit from counselling. If counselling is something you're interested in, talk to you family doctor, ask your guardians if they have counselling benefits, call ConnexOntario or 211. If you prefer an online resource check out Big White Wall.
Kathryn is a recent MSW graduate currently trying to #adult. She is a former mindyourmind staff and continues to work in the youth & community development sectors. In her spare time, she is a proud plant parent, home chef and avid volunteer.
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