There comes a time when you feel down during stressful times or when faced with adversities. During these times, it’s natural to ruminate on the past and worry about the future. It is also during these times, that you may revert to self-criticism and negative thoughts. In a world, where being perfect is coveted, it’s important to keep a mindful head.
You may wonder, “How?” Well, I came across this practice called mindful self-compassion. This mindful self-compassion practice involves being kind to yourself and understanding and empathetic especially when you’re struggling, facing failures, and responding to self-criticism.
Mindful self-compassion has become a tool to heal emotional wounds, reduce unnecessary stress, and cultivate resilience. In this blog, we’re learning about mindful self-compassion, how it benefits us, and how to practice being self-compassionate but mindfully.
What is Mindful Self-Compassion?
Mindful self-compassion also known as MSC is a mindfulness practice that combines the skills learned during mindfulness with self-compassion skills to improve your overall well-being and reduce emotional distress.
When we talk about mindfulness, it’s a practice that involves being intentional in whatever you do and staying in the present moment. Whereas self-compassion is a practice that involves loving yourself and being kind to yourself while being self-aware.
Self-compassion means showing yourself the same compassion and kindness that you would to your loved ones during difficult times. Mindfulness, in self-compassion, is a delicate balance between being aware of the negative thoughts and feelings involved in suffering.
The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
To become more apt in self-compassion, you can begin by perfecting mindfulness. These two practices might be distinct in comparison but when you combine the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion, you can achieve incredible results.
Here’s an example of mindfulness in your everyday life; If you’re in pain, then with mindfulness, you focus on understanding the physical part of the pain and direct your thinking from a negative exploration to a neutral exploration of your body ache and pain.
Nonetheless, when you follow the mindful path to self-compassion, the focus is on you as the one experiencing the – well, experience.
Taking the same example, mindfulness in self-compassion would turn inwards rather than just on the physical side. For example, you’ll focus on redirecting your negative thoughts – in such case, “I am hurting because I am at fault” – to a positive or at least a more neutral perspective.
Self-compassion focuses on the Self and offers self-kindness during a distressing situation whereas mindfulness focuses on transforming the experience or thoughts from negative to neutral, if not positive.
So, in self-compassion, mindfulness can help increase awareness of negative thoughts and experiences that also allow you to focus on self-acceptance without rumination and worries.
This is a reason why mindful self-compassion is considered a delicate balance, after all!
Benefits of Self-Compassion
Research has found that there are various benefits of practicing self-compassion. Here are some of the most common benefits of self-compassion;
Improved psychological well-being
Better positive mindset
In a 2021 study, it was found that mindfulness and compassion can also help reduce the symptoms of depression.
How to Practice Mindful Self-Compassion?
To practice mindful self-compassion, you need to nurture self-kindness and self-acceptance. Here are some effective (and practical) tips to help you incorporate mindfulness compassion into your everyday life;
You need to set aside time every day to work on improving your mindfulness skills. You can try meditation or mindful breathing techniques, be non-judgmental with your thoughts and emotions, observe your inner dialogue (especially self-critical thoughts) and redirect them to more positive and kind thoughts.
Value Your Emotions
Acknowledge, accept, and value your emotions without allowing yourself to judge them. You need to work on validating your emotions as valid and natural responses to the experiences you face and offer yourself understanding for the thoughts and feelings you experience.
Be Kind to Yourself
Treat yourself with kindness and compassion as you would to your loved ones in need of support. You need to work on encouraging yourself, comforting yourself, and supporting yourself when you think you need it or face setbacks. Try to engage in activities that help you focus on your mind, spirit, and body.
Change Your Inner Voice
When you think of self-critical thoughts, consciously replace them with compassionate talks and comments. You can use positive affirmations such as “I will be kind to myself” or “I am worthy and equally deserving of love and kindness”
Engage in LKM
LKM or Loving Kindness Meditation is another way you can try to increase mindfulness compassion. You can start by visualizing yourself in a state of peace, happiness, and love directed towards yourself and then extend those wishes to others around you. This will help you foster a sense of interconnectedness.
Understand that imperfection is a part of life and that to move forward in life you need to let go of perfectionism. Embrace your flaws as a part of life and take them as an opportunity to grow and learn. Try to list your strengths and qualities in front of your flaws and weaknesses.
Keep Practicing Mindful Self-Compassion
Whenever you face stressful situations, keep practicing mindfulness and compassion together. Bring your awareness to your emotions and thoughts, offer yourself comfort and kindness, and remind yourself that it’s OK to be stuck in stressful situations but you also deserve compassion during such moments.
Mindful self-compassion is a practice that can help transform your life and empower you to navigate life’s challenges with compassion, kindness, understanding, empathy, and resilience. By practicing mindfulness compassion, you can create a foundation for self-acceptance and self-love.
The mindful path to self-compassion can be difficult but be patient, dedicated, and don’t forget to self-reflect. You can nurture your kindness by creating a life filled with love, compassion, and awareness.
Remember, practicing mindfulness compassion is a gradual journey so be gentle with yourself and allow self-compassion to unfold naturally.
I hope this blog helped you understand how mindfulness can increase self-compassion. For more, write to us at email@example.com or leave a comment in the section below.
Take Care! Be Kind!