How to be kind to yourself, according to science
This scenario is unlikely. Most people would never talk to their loved ones this way. Instead, good and More friendly A friend encourages someone when they are going through a difficult time and congratulates them on their hard-earned successes. Why do we find it so difficult to extend the same courtesy to ourselves?
Why not start now and make it a habit in the new year? By changing your narrative to include more positive thought patterns, your words can help make you a kinder, more compassionate person.
The brain tends to focus on negative experiences
The inner critic in our heads can be loud and difficult to ignore. It may tell us that we don’t deserve our accomplishments or think of scenarios about how to do better.
Our brains have evolved to focus more on unpleasant experiences than good ones. which has Our ancestors helped humans, and safely explore new environments while preparing for what might go wrong. Even if the average person isn’t running from lions or other deadly threats, recent stressors like an email from a boss or a project deadline can trigger the same negative self-talk.
If self-blame becomes routine in your life, these harsh and abusive comments can affect your self-esteem Your fears When the task is completed Strengthen – Strengthens. Negative self-talk can also occur Depression worsens.
doctor. It takes time, says Katherine Fransen, associate professor of psychology at Longwood University in Virginia. About two months – To train the brain to get rid of the habit of negative talk to yourself. The more we train our brains to be kind to ourselves, the easier it will be to silence our inner critic once and for all.
Science-backed ways to practice self-love
Your inner critic lives rent-free in your head, but you can control your mind through mindfulness and meditation practices. Francine recommends this Loving-kindness meditationIt is a guided exercise that uses words and images to promote positive feelings and self-compassion.
“It’s as simple as taking 10 minutes during your lunch break to go out and listen to a meditation podcast,” Fransen explains. When combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (a form of talk therapy that teaches you to recognize and change negative thoughts and behaviors), loving-kindness meditation can Activate brain areasWhich is involved in processing emotions and empathy. This activation could explain the decrease in stress and increase in positive emotions. “All of these things will increase your well-being and improve your ability to feel and think kindly,” Fransen says.
Can you take 10 minutes a day to be kind to yourself?
Although meditation can reduce the amount of negative self-talk, it can still happen from time to time. doctor. Carla Marie Manley, clinical psychologist and author of the upcoming book The Joy of Imperfect Love, advises stopping and admitting to yourself when you find yourself in one of these negative thought patterns. “Don’t judge, because that will only lead to more negativity, but simply realize that you’re not being kind to yourself right now.
Once you identify negative self-talk, Manley and Francine recommend talking to yourself as you would a loved one. For example, maybe you didn’t get everything done on your to-do list today. Instead of beating yourself up for not working hard enough, point out the things you accomplished today.
When you use your name or refer to yourself in the third person, you create psychological distance between your usual self-critical reactions, causing you Your feelings better Checks ability. Additionally, people are likely to feel more sympathetic if you present the situation as if your best friend were talking to you about a problem in their life.
Gentle reminders to say something nice about yourself can also promote self-love. When you’re thinking about something, get inspiration from social media accounts that often post positive affirmations, such as: B. “I am worthy of doing good” or “Today will be a good day.” This may seem trite at first, but according to Fransen, repeating positive affirmations can facilitate the development of a positive inner monologue.
Give yourself time to silence your inner critic
Remember that being kind to yourself does not happen overnight, it is a daily practice. That’s why Manley emphasized the need to schedule regular “light breaks.” Taking a 15-minute break to read a book, sit in silence, or go for a walk is enough to regroup and feel more present when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Manley added: We are often good to others and put their needs above our own. But if we don’t take good care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally, how can we expect to be there for others?
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