Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Be kind to yourself

As individuals, we are our own worst critics. Society has taught us to be overly critical about every aspect our being from the way we look to how we behave. Self-criticism is believed to lead to self-improvement and ultimately, success, whereas being kind to ourselves is deemed selfish. But is this really the case?

Not according to researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, who reported that self-criticism is damaging and results in problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Self-compassion, on the other hand, is associated with greater well-being, better emotional coping skills and compassion for others.

Self-compassion involves accepting thoughts and feelings, observing life without judgement, being kind and understanding to ourselves in our suffering and when doing so, realising we are not alone.

Being self-compassionate might not come easy at first but here’s a few tips that may help.

  1. Imagine someone else - what would we do or say to someone we cared about who was suffering. 
  2. Look at your language - if we wouldn’t use the words we use when we talk about ourselves to others, we are probably being too self-critical. 
  3. Comfort your body - kind physical gestures, such as putting our hand on our heart or holding our arm, affect our bodies and trigger the soothing parasympathetic system. 
  4. Memorise compassionate phrases - when we find ourselves being self-critical, having stock phrases, which are meaningful to us, can help. For instance, ‘At this moment I am suffering’, ‘Suffering is part of life’, ‘May I be kind to myself?’, ‘May I show myself compassion?’. 
  5. Meditate – practising this can help retrain the brain which makes it easier to perform self-compassionate gestures and makes self-soothing easier. 

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:
Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: 01224-452-848, www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. we need to love our self before loving somebody else..we need also to be kind so others would also respect us,act properly and talk politely,be careful on the way you act and be careful to the words that come out to your mouth..

    psychology

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