How to develop self-compassion skills?
People with a mood disorder (as well as people who have experienced traumatic experiences or people with anxiety disorder) almost always have a habit of criticizing themselves, condemning themselves for all sorts of things. The inner critic, of course, is not always visible to others, but can significantly affect how a person treats themselves. If the inner critic is "excessive", it will intensify the symptoms of depression, reduce self-esteem and the ability to regulate emotions. People usually need a certain balance between inner criticism (including knowledge about their weaknesses) and acceptance.
For criticism and acceptance to be in balance, it is very important to develop self-compassion skill.
This is not about being selfish, but about having a caring attitude towards oneself, avoiding excessive or unrealistic demands towards oneself, and developing of a warm attitude towards oneself.
How can you develop self-compassion skills?
1. It is important to listen to your body and its sensations. You can mentally ask your body: "What can I do now to feel a little better and more comfortable? Maybe it is important for my body to stretch, move, take a deep breath right now? Then you can do something that will give your body comfort and pleasant sensations. Other task: "Take a deep breath and exhale. Try to focus on the sensations and enjoy the way air goes in and out of your lungs. Repeat 5-6 times."
2. It is necessary to notice situations when the voice of the “inner critic” is “turned on”. For example, you can give yourself the following task: “Until the end of the day, your task is to keep track of the number of situations when you criticize yourself and the number of situations when you manage to encourage, praise and support yourself. Set yourself the task of shifting the balance towards the latter, based on self-acceptance." Or you can do this task: "Pay attention to your inner criticizing voice. Try to answer it. I understand that you criticize me because you worry about me. I'll try to take care of you."
3. Allow yourself to have fun. Let yourself take care of yourself. For example, complete the following task: "When you finish reading this text, do something kind or pleasant for yourself. Or try to wrap your arms around (hug) yourself. Take a few deep breaths. Try to say to yourself "I love myself the way I am". Notice how these words sound? Can you repeat them?"
4. Learn to see the good in yourself. For example, name three things you like about yourself.