A great tip – learn to be kinder to yourself and you’ll increase your resilience, feel better, improve your performance and progress to your goals faster. Here are some lovely exercises which will develop your supportive side, improve your self-compassion and reduce your self-judgement.
What are the “Brilliant, Realistic & Practical Stress Busting Tips”?
I work with lots of people who feel stressed out and overwhelmed and I help my clients to find ways to reduce stress, make changes and start feeling a whole lot happier.
There are lots of great stress management tips around, but for many of my clients life can seem so busy and overwhelming that many stress busting activities seem impossible to fit into an already hectic day and end up becoming yet another item on their crazy “to do” list.
So, I thought I would share a few of my tips which are designed to be realistic, practical and very easy to incorporate into an already busy life.
You’ll find each of my tips on my website’s blog (www.lumierecoaching.co.uk) and shared on my Facebook page. My suggestion is that if you are busy, overwhelmed and stressed then just pick one or two of my tips and try them out this week so you can start making life better.
So, here is my latest tip….
Support Yourself, Feel Better & Work Better
Do you give yourself a tough time when you make a mistake? Do you tell yourself off about your shortcomings?
We are often supportive, kind and compassionate when other people mess up but, when it comes to our own failures, we can be really hard on ourselves. Frequently we have a good reason because we mistakenly believe that we will push ourselves to do better. We also often think that if we are kind to ourselves then we’re being soft and “letting ourselves off the hook”, resulting in lower standards and less achievement.
However, it appears that we are spot on when we follow our instinct to treat others kindly – and it’s a great idea to start treating ourselves with kindness too.
Researchers have found that the more we criticise ourselves the slower our progress becomes and the likelihood of achieving our goal reduces.
They’ve also found that by treating ourselves in a supportive, kind and compassionate way we help to encourage our personal resilience, reduce our stress levels and improve our performance.
Research in this area has shown that when we have self-compassionate thoughts following a struggle or failure we are more likely to:
- Feel more motivated to try again – and try harder
- Face up to our weaknesses and do something appropriate and useful about them
- Believe that our hard work will change things
- Recover from failures and get back to work more quickly
- Worry less about others’ approval
- Be less anxious and stressed
- Feel more positive
How to Be More Self-Supportive & Self-Compassionate
Given that there are some jolly good reasons to be kinder to yourself, why not give it a go?
Just to be clear, we are not talking about just telling yourself that it is OK to mess up and leaving it at that. What we’re talking about is telling yourself that it is OK to mess up because doing so is part of growing and achieving; that making mistakes doesn’t make you a rubbish person or a failure; and that learning from your errors or from recognising your shortcomings will help you to find a way through to success.
If you are great at self-judgement, self-criticism and generally giving yourself a hard time then you may need to practice flexing your self-compassion muscles a little bit before it comes naturally.
The following exercises are a brilliant way to begin your journey towards self-compassion, resilience and self-supported performance.
Why not pick one or two of these exercises and try them out this week?
Be your own friend
If you have made a mistake, said or done the “wrong” thing, feel embarrassed or let down by yourself or are judging yourself and coming up short then why not treat yourself as you would a friend.
Imagine that a good friend or loved one is in the same situation as you are and ask yourself – “How would I treat them and what would I say?”
Be clear on what words you would use, how you would speak (e.g. tone of your voice) and what actions you would take.
And then apply them to yourself. Say the same kind things to yourself, give the same sort of comfort and encouragement and kindness.
An alternative is to imagine a loved one or friend, conjure them up in your mind and feel how much they care about you. Now, think about what they would say to you about whatever situation you are currently in, and then say these words to yourself.
What’s the goal?
If you catch yourself being self-critical, consider what the purpose is – what goal are you trying to achieve?
Now, think of the wisest most supportive words you can use to help you achieve this goal (instead of the judgemental things you were already saying).
Say these supportive words to yourself. You might also want to write them down as this will help to reinforce them (and will ensure they are readily to hand to refer back to later).
Be kind to someone else
If you find it difficult to be kind to yourself then another way to train those self-compassion muscles is to practice being kind to someone else.
Also, research shows that when we are kind to others our system releases the hormone Oxytocin, which makes us feel good.
Try one of the following (or come up with something yourself):
- Give someone your seat on the train
- Let someone out in a traffic jam
- Acknowledge the busy-ness of your barrista when you buy a coffee – and wish them a good day
- Pick up litter left by others
- Forgive someone
- Be supportive or compassionate to someone who has made a mistake
- Pay for someone in the queue behind you
- Smile at someone / acknowledge someone in the street
Lumiere Coaching is run by Nikki Watters, a qualified and experienced life coach, counsellor, mindfulness trainer and NLP practitioner. Nikki helps busy people to reduce stress, make changes, work better and feel a whole lot happier!
Contact Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.