Mindful Self-Compassion Practices For Times Of Stress And Struggle.

2024-05-31T08:17:36-06:00December 16th, 2020|

Mindful Self-Compassion Practices For Times Of Stress And Struggle

How do you talk to yourself when you’re having a hard time?

Being kind to ourselves doesn’t come naturally to many of us.

I used to think self-compassion was about doing nice things for myself, like getting a massage or attending a yoga class. But the truth is that doing these things for ourselves doesn’t automatically translate into being kinder and gentler with ourselves.

We can do these things and still have an inner voice that’s quite nasty.

Many of us want to be kinder to ourselves, but we don’t know how to do it or what it means to be more self-compassionate.

What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion boils down to being kind, gentle, and accepting of ourselves during a hard time.

This suffering or stress isn’t just about the big things in our lives; it’s also about all the little things that happen in a day that trigger discomfort.

Accepting that all of the little and the significant challenges are worthy of our kindness shifts the nature of our relationship with ourselves.

Self-compassion is a self-soothing activity.

Self-compassion practices for times of stress and struggle.

When we learn to soothe ourselves from the inside, we don’t need to turn to things like eating, drinking, shopping, or busyness to make us feel better.

In the book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Kristin Neff, Ph.D., identifies that there are three elements of self-compassion:

Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we fail, suffer, or feel inadequate.

Common humanity helps us recognize that “I” is not the only person who suffers or makes mistakes; I am not alone.

Mindfulness involves bringing a balanced and non-judging approach to our emotions so that our feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.

One of my favourite practices is the Self-Compassion Break. You can do it throughout the day when you’re feeling stressed or dealing with difficult emotions or experiences. You can learn the simple steps and listen to a 5-minute guided recording HERE.

How self-compassionate are you?

The saying that you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge applies to learning how to be kinder to ourselves.

Becoming aware of that little voice in our head is the starting place for shifting some of our patterns of relating to ourselves.

I experimented and completed the self-compassion quiz on Dr. Kristin Neff’s website.

I highly recommend you spend a few minutes completing the quiz. By doing so, you’ll get a better idea of self-compassion and where you stand regarding how kind you are to yourself.

I was surprised that even though I had been a Nurse for many years and prided myself in compassion, this quiz helped me see that I wasn’t extending the same kindness toward myself.

When you’re feeling stressed or you’re suffering, practice RAIN.

In addition to the Self-Compassion Break, the following video with Tara Brach guides us through the sitting practice of RAIN (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture).

While RAIN is a helpful practice for minor frustrations, it becomes gold when going through the big stuff. When I say big stuff, I mean major health issues, spiritual crises like the dark night of the soul, or relationship issues that are bound to happen.

For many of us, when these little or big things happen, we battle in our minds- without being consciously aware. We turn away from our suffering because we don’t know how to deal with it wisely.

RAIN helps us learn to observe our uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and work with them. It gives us a way to be with suffering that enables it to move through us.

We learn how to transform ourselves with kindness.

It’s a potent practice that helps us to be present with ourselves and our lives in nourishing ways.

 If you feel called, please comment below to share with our community of awakening women.

(Original post-Nov. 11, 2015; Updated post-Dec. 16, 2020)

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About the Author:

Bev Janisch coaches and teaches people how to master their stress and disconnect so they can live with greater inner peace, well-being and purpose. Her unique transformational coaching approach combines contemporary meditation and mindfulness with Enneagram wisdom, empowering people with holistic tools and a map to visualize and create their future best selves with lives that feel good to their souls. Bev is trained as an Integral Associate Coach™, Certified Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, Enneagram Practitioner and Master's prepared Nurse. Bev is the author of Awakening a Woman’s Soul: The Power of Meditation and Mindfulness to Transform Your Life.

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