How Self-Compassion Can Improve Your Mental Health
When you make a mistake or things don’t go quite right, how do you react? Do you mentally berate yourself, or do you forgive yourself and move on? Many of us could use a little more self-compassion in our daily lives. Common sense tells us that people who are kind to themselves are more mentally resilient, less anxious and have stronger relationships with others, and a growing body of research has emerged to back up that idea.
If you are the type of person who often falls into self-defeating thoughts instead of loving yourself and laughing off setbacks, you need to learn better self-compassion skills.
Why Practice Self-Compassion?
Compassion is a core tenet of many religions, especially Buddhist philosophy. Buddhism teaches that we can reach enlightenment by eliminating suffering. According to this mindset, when you aren’t practicing self-love, you are on a less enlightened path.
Self-compassionate people have the awareness to recognize the difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person. In other words, having self-compassion means knowing that your unique value is unconditional.
Advantages of Self-Love
Often, our parents, teachers and other role models teach us that being overly self-critical and pushing ourselves hard is the secret to success. However, this attitude can make you less able to rebound and diminish your capacity to relate well to other people.
The good news is that self-compassion is a skill you can learn. It begins with recognizing how you respond to failure and to learn to choose self-love, instead of criticism. Setbacks and weaknesses are part of the human experience, and they are a normal part of everyone’s life.
Self-compassionate people are less stressful, more successful, are calmer and more productive in the face of adversity. They welcome the opportunity to use mistakes as a springboard for their ongoing growth in life.
How to Become More Self-Compassionate
Now that you know the benefits of self-compassion for your mental health, what can you do to improve it? Next time you find yourself stuck in a negative feedback loop, consider these ideas.
- Nurture yourself: Prepare yourself a healthy meal, then eat it mindfully. Go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Take a nap and allow yourself to rest your mind and body. Any healthy habit that makes you feel good constitutes self-care.
- Meditate: Tap into your feelings with a meditation session. You don’t have to spend a long time meditating to reap the benefits. If the traditional method of sitting quietly and focusing on your breath hasn’t worked well for you in the past, consider other approaches to this ancient practice.
- Recognize, and defeat, negative self-talk: Listen to your inner monologue. Would you say the same things about a good friend as you’re saying to yourself? Chances are, you wouldn’t. Reframe that negativity and come up with positive things to tell yourself instead.
- View mistakes as a learning opportunity: Think back on what went wrong. You’ll likely come up with at least one way you could do things differently if a similar situation presented itself again. To err is human, and often, the role of our slip-ups is to teach us valuable life lessons.
A New Beginning Awaits You
Compassion is an integral part of the unique culture we’ve cultivated at Beach House. Our mission is to provide every client with comprehensive, individualized treatment for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, and our evidence-based approach helps minimize your chances of experiencing a relapse after you complete your program. To learn more about our quiet, private beachfront campus and to verify your insurance coverage, reach out to us today.