CULTIVATING COMPASSION

BY DR. RACHEL EBY

Did you know that you can actually increase your levels of compassion – both for yourself and for others? This post focused 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 yourself HERE.

Practice this five-minute self-compassion break from Dr. Kristin Neff once a day, or whenever you feel like you could use it: CLICK HERE 

Try this BRIEF WRITING EXERCISE: 
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
• Becoming aware of the conditions under which we were not loved
• Learning to relate to ourselves in a very unfamiliar way

This means 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.

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/