College blog

Stress less and take a self-compassion break

Self-compassion is about being kind to ourselves. It can be easy to judge ourselves harshly or too critically in our very competitive society. However, we need to consider if that is helpful on our journey to recovery and wellbeing? Is it helpful at all? If we treat ourselves with more compassion then it will also help us to see others less judgementally. This can help us to feel more connected with other people rather than isolated in our own suffering.

Here is a five-minute exercise adapted from self-compassion.org to promote kindness to yourself and others.

Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. Call the situation to mind, and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body.

 Now, say to yourself:

1. “This is a moment of suffering”

Other options include:

  • This hurts
  • This is stress
     

A group of people linking hands in a circle

2. “Suffering is a part of life”

Other options include:

  • Other people feel this way
  • I’m not alone.

Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest.

Say to yourself:
 

3. “May I be kind to myself”

Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

  • May I give myself the compassion that I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I be patient

A person making a heart with their hands against a sunsetThis self-compassion break can be used at any time to help you feel compassion for yourself and others. Research has shown that people with greater self-compassion can have more emotional balance and are less likely to suffer from the stress and anxiety caused by harsh self-criticism. Try it for yourself and see if you find it useful for your own recovery journey.

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