Spring term is starting soon with all of its courses, lectures, mid-terms, homework, exams… Let’s not forget all the other commitments, hobbies, jobs, sports, relationships, etc.. Sometimes you have a full plate to deal with and it can become tiring and depressing. So, how to get through the hard times and reach the summer vacation successfully?
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to solve all our problems in the blink of an eye. So, I want to share with you an amazing and effective tip proposed by famous therapist K. Neff: „Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate to yourself. Take care of yourself“.
Alright, so how to do that? Here is a simple 3-step self-compassion exercise proposed by K. Neff, that you can try:
Step 1: Name the painful feelings and emotions that you are currently experiencing, e.g.: “I‘m sad“, “I feel angry“, “I feel so tired“, “It hurts a lot“, “I‘m suffering“, “I‘m so tense“. Putting your feelings into words and accepting your pain instead of trying to hide it or fight it can bring relief.
Step 2: Kindly remind yourself that struggles and suffering is common humanity. Every living being suffers sometimes. Every person on Earth feels tired, depressed, disappointed, sick, angry, afraid and tired at some point. You are not alone with your struggles, there will always be some people who will understand what you are going through.
Step 3: Kindly ask yourself – “May I be kind, compassionate and patient towards myself. How could I help myself?“. Usually, we tend to blame ourselves for struggling, doing not good enough or feeling inadequate. However, is that how we would treat our friend when he‘s down? I doubt it. This step is encouraging you to be a good and loving friend to yourself. It encourages you to be compassionate, accepting and patient towards your feelings and yourself as a whole. It also encourages you to think of ways you could help yourself feel at least a little bit better, e.g., going for a walk, taking a cup of favorite tea, listening to music, watching a movie, getting some rest, doing a breathing exercise, doing some sports, etc.
This exercise is one of my favorites, I even wrote all of these steps on a small piece of paper and hung it on the wall in my office as a constant reminder for whenever I feel down. Even though it doesn‘t magically solve the problem, it surely helps me to live through difficult times easier. So, I encourage you to try it – who knows, maybe it will be helpful for you too?
If you are interested to learn more about self-compassion, click on the link.