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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Here's How To Practice Self-Compassion to Improve Your Mental Health

    Are you struggling to treat yourself kindly? If so, it may be time to consider making some changes in your life. Self-compassion isn't silly — it's key to managing life's challenges in a healthy and proactive way.

    Self-compassion is recognizing and embracing your own humanity and shortcomings. It's being kind to yourself when things don't go as planned even though your good intentions didn't produce the desired outcome. The idea is to lift yourself up when you're feeling down and to forgive yourself when you make mistakes.

    We all tend to be our own worst critics. We focus on our flaws instead of our strengths. We judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others. We give ourselves withering criticism and shame ourselves for not living up to misguided standards. Those misguided standards can come from many places like our culture, families, or expectations of others.

    But if you want to change how you view yourself, start by changing how you talk to yourself. This type of internal dialogue doesn't work in your favor. Instead, replace it with encouraging and kind words. The idea is to be kinder to yourself rather than beating yourself up.

    There are several techniques that can help you make a conscious effort to be kinder to yourself:

    1 . Get to know yourself. Take the time to get to know what brings out the best in you and nurtures your soul. Spend some alone time with yourself and practice being in the present moment.

    2. Create a support system. Bring people into your life who make you feel safe, secure, and loved. Connect with strong, positive people who will be there for you when you need emotional, moral, or financial support.

    3. Change negative beliefs. If you find yourself having negative thoughts about yourself, catch them and change them to something more positive. You can do this by repeating supportive affirmations to yourself or writing a gratitude list every day to remind you of all the good in your life.

    4. Let go of perfectionism. Releasing yourself from the need to be perfect and expecting everything to be perfect has a huge emotional payoff. Recognize the humanness of failure, be proud of the effort you put in, and remember that setbacks are part of the learning process.

    5. Have mercy. Show yourself the same compassion, understanding, and respect that you show to others. There's no benefit to beating yourself up, so don't let self-criticism fester and become an issue in your life.

    6. Recognize emotion is neutral. Emotions are neutral feelings that should be accepted, allowing yourself to fully experience them and letting go instead of dwelling on them or clinging to them.

    It's important to remember that being kind to yourself doesn't mean that you're being selfish. It means that you're taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally so that you can better handle life's challenges. Self-kindness is also about recognizing and affirming your own value and worth, so don't forget to be gentle with yourself and offer yourself a dose of kindness every day.

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