CULTIVATING COMPASSION

two people holding handsBY DR. RACHEL EBY

Cultivating Compassion

Did you know that you can actually increase your levels of compassion – both for yourself and for others?

Let’s focus on how you can increase your compassion for yourself (and why you might want to!).

Here are 3 ways you can cultivate more compassion for yourself:

You might want to find out how much self-compassion you have already and see if it changes after practicing these exercises over time! Test it yourself by clicking below.

Self Compassion Test

Practice this five-minute self-compassion break from Dr. Kristin Neff once a day, or whenever you feel like you could use it. Click below to practice.

Practice

Scientific research has suggested that those who have more compassion for themselves, are actually MORE likely to achieve their health-related goals, are LESS likely to experience burnout our caregiving fatigue, and feel a GREATER sense of well-being.

Keep in mind, that when beginning to practice self-compassion, people often experience more pain at first. Dr. Neff states this may be due to:

• Becoming mindful of the pain
• Being aware of the conditions under which we were not loved
• Learning to relate to ourselves in a very unfamiliar way

We have to allow ourselves to be slow learners when practicing self-compassion. We can meet this pain with acceptance and by offering ourselves compassion for struggling with having compassion! You simply can’t go wrong.

Writing Exercise

Scientific research actually suggests that being compassionate can improve physical health, emotional well-being and naturally, our relationships, and compassion naturally bonds and connects us to others.

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References:
Ferreira, C., Pinto-Gouveia, J., & Duarte, C. (2013). Self-compassion in the face of shame and body image dissatisfaction: Implications for eating disorders. Eating behaviors, 14(2), 207-210.
Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., & Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2007). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of research in personality, 41(4), 908-916.
Svendsen, J. L., Osnes, B., Binder, P.-E., Dundas, I., Visted, E., Nordby, H.,  et al. (2016). Trait Self-Compassion Reflects Emotional Flexibility Through an Association with High Vagally Mediated Heart Rate Variability. Mindfulness, 7(5), 1103–1113.
http://self-compassion.org/tips-for-practice/