Living the Questions

Finding peace in uncertain times.

Four Easy Self-Compassion Techniques to Try Today

Self-compassion practices aren't hard; you just have to remember to do them.

Self-compassion practices aren't hard; you just have to remember to do them. That's why I love these self-compassion techniques. They're quick and easy, and they make a difference in my day.

1. One technique I use daily is a gentle touch on my skin (maybe touch my forearm with my other hand) while I say something reassuring to myself. The touch actually releases oxytocin and sets off a calming response in the body. I discretely do this at work when I’m stressed (at home I may give myself a big hug!)

2. I often combine the self-compassionate touch with a phrase or self-compassion mantra. The classic phrases Kristin Neff, Ph.D., writes about in her book, Self-Compassion, is: “This is a moment of suffering; suffering is a part of life; may I be kind to myself and give myself what I need.”  

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3. I do a lot of informal mindfulness practice. I never used to take breaks—it was always work, work, work. Now I go outside and simply appreciate the beauty around me. This helps me connect with a greater good, and I end up feeling softer and gentler with myself. I have really gotten into bird watching!

4. I write myself little “love notes” to keep in my purse. It’s usually just a few quick sentences I want to remember during the day to stay focused on self-compassion.

This was part of an interview I did with Dr. Alice Boyes. You can read the whole interview here.

You might also like 80+ Self-Care Ideas and 25 Writers Share Their Best Self-Compassion Tips.

Tara Brach on The Trance of Unworthiness.

Kristin Neff on Compassion for the Self-Critic.

Geneen Roth on Kindness is the Means and the End.

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Dr. Barbara Markway, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with over twenty years of experience. She is the author of four popular psychology books and has been featured in media nationwide.

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