Oftentimes, our internal monologue is filled with harsh judgment. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we are often our worst critics. Instead of blaming ourselves, we need to win back our own hearts and reclaim our well-being through self-compassion, Marianna Pogosyan, PhD, a lecturer in cultural psychology, says.
Practicing self-compassion is a healthy way to deal with negative feelings we may have about ourselves. It can also decrease stress, improve our concentration, and boost our focus, especially if we’re not in the best mood.
We spoke to Alex Greenwald, MHC-LP, a therapist at Empower Your Mind Therapy, who recommended the following practices for cultivating kindness. Try these exercises to be kinder and more compassionate to yourself today.
1. Speak to yourself as though you were speaking to a best friend. You would never call your best friend dumb or not good enough!
2. Devote some time every day to say one kind statement to yourself. A simple mantra can reset your day in a positive tone.
3. Allow yourself to do things you love at least once a day, such as taking a brisk walk or dancing to fun, upbeat music.
4. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone is different, and comparing yourself to someone else or how they may have handled things is not productive.
5. Flip the script by challenging yourself to change the way you view the situation. Instead of saying, “I’m a terrible parent, I always yell,” try saying “I will work on my patience” or “I’m doing my best”
6. Try a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for or love about yourself every morning. This will set your day in happiness and confidence and will remind you of the important things in life.
7. Use mindfulness to focus on the present moment and be nonjudgmental to yourself. Don’t focus on what you should have done or what you would have done. Move forward.
8. Ask for support. Talking through an issue with a friend or partner might help you find a solution or a healthy way of dealing with your emotions. It may also strengthen your relationship, and the knowledge of having unconditional support can improve mental health.
9. Engage with your inner critic and tell yourself these negative thoughts are not true. Replace the critic with a cheerleader, and try to change your mindset in real time.
10. Take a break! Sometimes not doing anything at all and giving yourself time to reset is exactly what you need to feel better about yourself or a certain situation.