How to Practice Self-Compassion

 

Self-compassion, like mindfulness, is a practice. For many of us it may not come easy and may even seem totally foreign. There’s strong evidence in the research to support self-compassion as a reliable way to build inner resources and strengthen our sense of self and belonging.

In this video, I discuss self-compassion and teach a simple 3-step practice for directing loving kindness towards oneself.

A Mindful Approach to Food and Eating

When we think about mindful eating, we may first think of a practice where we eat something with focused attention, noticing each part of the process, smelling, feeling, tasting, and observing with care and kindness.  An excercise like this is one important way to practice.

During the reflection after mindful eating exercise in my classes, students always report on the high contrast between the mindful eating exercise and how they normally eat. It’s not realistic for most of us to eat every meal with slow, focused attention but if we can slow down just 5 or 10 percent, that’s still progress. The mindful eating exercise shows us another way to eat that we can turn to or draw upon as needed.

Mindful eating also means being mindful of our relationship to food, and this is perhaps even more important than the exercise. Mindfulness asks us to withhold judgement and regard ourselves with kindness and curiosity. What if we were able to do those things when it came to food and eating? What if we could stop the self-criticism, guilt, shame, and love ourselves exactly as we are in this moment no matter what we ate?

That’s what I discuss in this video. The dieting culture is build on the judgement that something is wrong and needs to be changed. Mindfulness of food and eating begins with love, acceptance, and curiosity, not judgment. It’s a radically different, and I would say more effective, way to address your relationship with food.

The Self-Compassion Body Scan

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This is a 7-minute guided meditation that I recorded to connect feelings of compassion with your body.

Find a quiet and comfortable spot. It’s ideal if you can lie down for deeper relaxation, but sitting is also okay. You may want to try it more than once and see how each session is different for you. Enjoy!

Tips for When Things Fall Apart

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With our current state of affairs in the nation and in the world, it’s important to practice self-care so we can continue to show up ready to serve the greater good.
1. Go within first. If you encounter a difficult story in the news or witness something unjust, take a moment to check in with yourself. Connect with the breath in your body.
2. Be compassionate. Offer yourself self-compassion. As we bear witness to violence and injustice, we experience suffering. Acknowledge this and allow the grief, rage, anger, or fear to process through.
3. Stay connected. Remember that we’re all in this together. There isn’t a us and a them. There’s only an us. Try to cultivate feelings of compassion for others, even if they are behaving in ways that are harmful.
4. Grow the good. The world is full of goodness. We each have so much to be grateful for. Focus on the good all around you and see if you can’t build upon it.