This month’s guest post comes from Dr Danielle McCarthy. Danielle is a Clinical Psychologist and the Director of a private psychology practice, Mind Potential Psychology. Danielle is passionate about spreading tips and information about mental health issues both online and offline.
3 Tips to Cultivate Self-Compassion
Most of us have probably heard of the term self-compassion by now. In short, self-compassion is being kind to yourself through the good times and the bad times; the ups and the downs. In my practice as a psychologist, it’s not uncommon for people to give me a look of absolute distaste when I first introduce this concept. This is usually because they are mixing it up with being big-headed, or even narcissistic. However, this is not what self-compassion is about. Instead it is affording yourself the same gentleness, forgiveness, kindness, etc that you would offer a loved one…your sibling, your child, your spouse. And why would you want to do this? Well there is ever growing research showing a positive link between self-compassion and psychological well-being. Self-compassion has been linked to greater:
- Social connectedness
- Emotional intelligence
- Happiness, and
- Life satisfaction
In addition, self-compassion has been found to correlate with less:
- Shame, and
- Fear of failure
Cultivating self-compassion will allow you to get through the curve balls that life will inevitably throw your way more easily and potentially faster. I have put together 3 tips below to help you get started with cultivating self-compassion into your daily life.
- Develop awareness.
Pay attention to your thoughts and the feelings that show up around them. When you start to notice your internal chit-chatter you might be surprised at how critical some of your thoughts are.
- Treat yourself as you would a loved one.
With awareness, you are in a position to choose how you respond to critical thoughts. When you notice you are struggling, ask yourself: “What would I say to a friend who was experiencing this issue or feelings right now?” Typically, we are better at showing kindness and compassion towards others than towards ourselves.
- Remember that all emotions are normal.
Emotions are normal…the whole spectrum of them. Anger, sadness and fear are just as normal as happiness. As a human being you will experience all of them at different times. Sometimes you will experience all of them in one day! This doesn’t make you ‘broken’ or mean you have ‘stuffed up’. You are not alone. Whatever you’re going through there are millions of others experiencing the same or similar feelings. When you realise that none of us are perfect, you can begin to feel more connected with others. You also won’t get so caught up in the more challenging emotions and they will pass faster as a result.
Dr Danielle McCarthy (Clinical Psychologist)