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Mindfulness exercise 2

A Mindfulness based Self-Care / Self-Compassion Break

This exercise is a mindfulness based self-care practice to use when you notice a situation or experience in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. First:

  • Tune into how the experience is playing out in your mind and body.
  • Now, say to yourself:

1. This is a moment of stress and suffering – a challenge to my workable range

Other options include:

  • This hurts.
  • This is difficult for me.
  • This is stress. My body/mind is being pushed out of my Workable Range.

2. Stress and suffering is a part of life

That’s the way all our bodies organise around self-protection. It is part of common humanity. Other options include:

  • Other people have these reactions and feel this way.
  • I’m not alone.
  • We all struggle in our work and with our lives.

Now, put your hands over your heart or one hand on top of the other, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands. Or adopt any soothing touch that might feel right for you.

Say to yourself:

3. I can respond with care and support myself

You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express support, encouragement, and kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

  • I can give myself the care and compassion that I need.
  • I can learn to accept myself as I am.
  • I can learn to forgive myself.
  • This will pass.
  • I could be more patient and tolerant with myself.
  • I could turn to others to get help with this

Note: this is an adaptation of Dr Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Break. It draws on her theory of three elements in self-compassion; (i) Self-Kindness instead of Self-Judgement (ii) Part of common humanity rather than isolated on our own (iii) Mindfulness – observing and reflecting rather than being caught up in an identified with.

Sally Rose: February 2019