© 2017 by IFP

Doing This Can Make You Feel Less Stressed and More In Control

March 1, 2018

Be kind to yourself.  There is great good in doing so.

 

 

 Life seems more stressful than ever.  The portableness of our modern technology means we rarely have time for just ourselves anymore. 

 

Google tracks our location; Facebook friends follow us and vacationers lay on the beach texting their employees.  

 

School shootings, political wrangling and the drama of our daily lives all combine to make it feel like we live in a human-sized vice that tightens a little tighter each day.

 

 

What Can You Do?

 

Large, drastic measures like going off the grid are impractical and unrealistic.   What you can do is develop a short list of easy but effective stress-busting techniques to manage negative emotions like frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression.   

 

One of these techniques is self-compassion.  Compassion is showing kindness and caring, and being thoughtful and decent.  The catch is we hardly ever think of compassion as something we can express to ourselves.

 

 

Be Compassionate To Your Self!

 

There is no rule against self-compassion.   Put in modern vernacular, showing compassion to yourself means to cut yourself some slack by backing off perfectionistic tendencies.   When you underperform, make a mistake or outright fail, self-compassion means you don’t call yourself names and make negative comments, like, “I will never amount to anything,” and “I am such a loser.”  In the cut-throat, cynical world we live in there are plenty of others willing to make these comments for us.  Someone needs to stand up for us and that someone needs to begin with you.

 

 

How Does Being Self-Compassionate Help? 

 

The research shows that self-compassion lessens the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems while increasing motivation and standards of high performance.  [1] 

 

It appears to do so by helping us look at ourselves more objectively.  [2] 

 

When we can view our mistakes and imperfections as part of being human, we are more apt to be less critical of ourselves. 

 

Viewing our self imperfections as a problem of being human allows us to be less judgmental of our mistakes.  It also makes it easier for us to accept feedback and criticism from others without hurt and anger.

 

 

 

How Do I Show Self-Compassion?

 

1.  Admit you are not perfect and stop trying to be.

Here is a more realistic attitude:  Tell yourself, "I’m an imperfect human living an imperfect life.  Every person on this earth is an imperfect human living an imperfect life.  Each one of us,  including me, needs to stop being so hard on ourselves and start being more compassionate towards ourselves".    

 

 

2.  Live by this motto:

"I am doing the best I can within my circumstances at this place and time of my life.  If I am not satisfied  I  will continue trying to improve.  In the meantime, instead of being critical and thinking negative thoughts about myself I will find ways to encourage and build myself up."    

 

 

3.  Specific actions for self-compassion:

 

* Notice & identify your negative emotions without judging.  Respond with comments like, “I am feeling very nervous right now.  This is a normal reaction to stress.”

 

* Identify supportive friends and seek them out in difficult times of disappointment and failure.

 

* Be still.  Close your eyes and place your hand over your heart.  Think of your hand as a hand of kindness.  Feel the warmth and soft pressure of a kind hand on your heart.

 

* Ask this question when you make a mistake:  ‘How would I comfort a close friend struggling with the same failure or challenge?’.  Then respond to yourself in the like manner.

 

 

The Takeaway

 

Here is the most important attitude of all:  Your performance does not determine your worth as a person.  You are lovable and worthy of respect from others for one single reason:  You are created in the image of God [3] , and God is love [4] .

 

  

Before You Go

Help others find this message.  Please share and respond so others might benefit from these words.

 

Thanks much,

 

dr.bill

 

 

[1] http://self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Dahm_et_al.pdf

 

[2]  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/smarter-living/why-self-compassion-beats-self-confidence.html

 

[3]  Genesis 1:27

"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."  (NLT)

 

[4]  1 John 4:16

"We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them."   (NLT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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