The importance of self-compassion

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In an increasingly busy world with with all the demands that everyday living puts on us, it is no surprise that stress and anxiety levels continue to rise. So it is helpful to know that by taking simple steps to take care of ourselves we can alleviate some of the suffering from the pressures of life in the 21st century.

Jack Kornfield – a scholar and teacher of Buddhist philosophy and meditation writes of the second principle of Buddhist psychology saying

“Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection with all things”.

-Self-compassion simply means giving ourselves the same care and attention we give to others

Professor Kristin Neff who’s ground breaking research into the scientific study of the benefits of self-compassion and how it is defined says that “Common humanity (Kristin Neff) is the realisation that we all suffer at some time and often simply acknowledging that and asking ourselves “what do I need right now?” can be extremely helpful, indeed we can at that time allow ourselves a ‘compassion break’….

Self-compassion enables and supports our ability to be compassionate to others.

Applying self-care, acknowledging our needs and meeting them as best we can replenishes our reserves by continually activating the ‘soothing system’ this in turn produces the hormone oxytocin and endorphins which give us the sense of balance and well-being and enable us to continue in our care giving roles with an inner resource and well of emotional resilience.

There are many ways to apply self-compassion such as ensuring we eat and drink sufficiently, get enough sleep, take time for relaxation, and employ strategies such as mindfulness and meditation which research has shown to be proven ways to increase our sense of well-being.

Acknowledge your needs:

  • That you need sleep,
  • friendship, support,- if there is help available- take it-
  • if you feel others are making demands on you that you cannot meet- it’s ok to say no –
  • Prioritise what you need and want to do each day- keep the lists short- so that you are not overwhelmed.
  • Healthy nutrition and replenishment, – quite often it is easy to forget to eat- to skip meals, and to then just grab the nearest thing
  • And space to breath- so even if you just take 10-20 minutes each day to be mindfully present in nature this will help you to rebalance and replenish.
  • Making your work/life balance a priority
  • Take time to be with friends and family
  • Keep a gratitude/pleasant events diary- this will help keep the balance during stressful times

If you come along to my workshops and courses, I will be teaching techniques and strategies to help you take care of you. I will show you how to be self-compassionate, and why it is important.