5 Ways to Practice Self Compassion

Self compassion is one of the most important mental health practices. While it may not completely cure a mental disorder like depression or anxiety, it can help you better understand your mental state and find a sense of inner peace, relieving many mental health symptoms. It can also make finding solutions to your challenges easier instead of wallowing in self pity or judging yourself for feeling the way that you do. 

If you’d like to introduce more self compassion into your life, here are five ways to practice this healing mindset. 

  1. Accept your emotions. When experiencing painful or uncomfortable emotions, it is natural to want to push them away. However, in doing so, you may actually make those emotions stronger or may subconsciously label them as bad or wrong. Self compassion allows you to accept your emotional experience exactly as it is, and can even help challenging emotions pass quicker.  
  2. Stop comparing. It is easy to judge ourselves when we are regularly comparing ourselves to others, such as our friends on social media, or even to an idealistic version of ourselves. By releasing these judgments and comparisons, we can practice self acceptance and self compassion. 
  3. Recognize your humanity. Practicing self compassion means recognizing that we are human, and can make mistakes without those mistakes reflecting on our identity or value as a person. Holding ourselves to impossibly high standards can lead to loneliness, a sense of frustration with ourselves, and even resentment towards others. 
  4. Practice gratitude. Focusing on the things you’re grateful for can be a powerful way to practice self compassion and self love. This is not to say that one should ignore tough emotions like sadness or anger. However, if you are having a hard time feeling compassion for yourself, putting your attention on the positive things in your life may help.
  5. Take on a growth mindset. A growth mindset means that you view mistakes as learning experiences and recognize that you are a constantly evolving person who may not get everything right on the first try. As opposed to a fixed mindset, a growth mindset is less focused on results and more focused on the process. By being in the moment and replacing self criticism with curiosity and openness, you can invite more self compassion into your life.