How Can Self-Compassion Help Me?
Self-compassion is a practice of offering ourselves kindness and warmth when we are in pain or suffering. Self-compassion could be useful when we feel overwhelmed by daily stressors or in moments when we are self-critical or judgmental. It may also help us alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and shame. There is a growing body of research that provides support for the power of self-compassion, but what is it about self-compassion that can make it so helpful?
Certain research studies have taken a closer look to investigate what it is about self-compassion that can make it a beneficial practice.
One systematic review (Inwood & Ferrari, 2018) found that self-compassion may enhance emotion regulation and processing of negative emotions.
Other research has suggested that self-compassion may help people avoid less (Yela et al., 2022).
Yet another study found that writing a self-compassionate letter can help people disengage from negative emotions, including shame (Yip & Tong, 2021).
These studies provide valuable insights about the power of self-compassion. Emotion regulation skills, enhanced ability to face difficult thoughts and emotions, and letting go of negative mood states could support our efforts to improve depression, anxiety, and stress while enhancing general well-being.
How Can We Practice Self-Compassion?
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner of self-compassion skills, it can be beneficial to remember the question “What Do I Need?” To put this into practice, we may:
1. Begin with mindful awareness. We need to be aware that we are in pain of some kind in order to offer ourselves compassion.
2. Pause to offer ourselves kindness, warmth, and understanding.
3. It may be helpful to remind ourselves that we are not alone. Others know the experience of pain and challenge too.
4. Consider asking yourself, “what do I need in this moment?” Examples of what we may need could include:
Standing up for ourselves
– to assert a boundary or use effective communication
Rest – to take a brief break from the rush of the day
Movement – to get outside, feel the sun, and breathe fresh air
Support – from a loved one, friend, or the community
When we ask ourselves, “what do I need?” our Aim is to care for ourselves; to help ourselves the best way we can.
Grow True Psychology focuses on helping people move through change well, manage anxiety, and show up as their best selves using a holistic approach to therapy. If you would like to learn more about how to apply self-compassion to life’s challenges, reach out for a free 15-minute informational phone consultation.
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Inwood, E., & Ferrari, M. (2018). Mechanisms of change in the relationship between self-compassion, emotion regulation, and mental health: A systematic review. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. doi: 10.11 11/aphw.12127
Yela, J. R., et al. (2022). Reductions in experiential avoidance explain changes in anxiety, depression and well-being after a mindfulness and self-compassion (MSC) training. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 95, 402-422.
Yip, V. T., & Tong, M. W. (2021). Self-compassion and attention: Self-compassion facilitates disengagement from negative stimuli. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 16, 593-609.