Managing Stress with Self-Compassion

For many of us, August can be an incredibly stressful month – the end of summer, school supply shopping, changing schedules, sports starting up again. How do you manage all of that stress? If you’re like me, many times I don’t realize I’m stressed until my body starts sending me warning signals, loud and clear. I notice I have a pounding headache, or my stomach feels nauseous, or I’m having trouble sleeping.

 

While there is some stress that is inevitable – part of being an adult, parent, spouse, friend, employee – part of stress comes from our own inner critic, who often has a lot to say about our capacity and ability to manage it all. We find ourselves not only stressed about what’s on our plate but also overwhelmed because we don’t understand why we are having such a hard time. It seems everyone else can handle it, why can’t I?

 

One of the ways we can care for ourselves when our inner critic shows up is self-compassion. What does it mean to show ourselves compassion? Dr. Kristin Neff puts it this way:

 

“Self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

 

What would it be like to check in with yourself right now, and see how you’re doing? I’d like to invite you to take some deep breaths, and ask your body what it needs in this moment. Take a minute to remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect, or have it all figured out.

 

If you are interested in learning more about self-compassion, I would encourage you to check out Dr. Kristin Neff’s self-compassion exercises, listed below. If this is something you would like to talk through with a therapist, we would be honored to partner with you. Give us a call at 615-591-5262 to schedule.

 

Further Reading:

Self-Compassion practices & resources developed by Dr. Kristin Neff, http://self-compassion.org

“The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion” by Christopher K. Germer, PhD