Happiness Break: How to Be Your Own Best Friend

06.02.2022 - By The Science of Happiness

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Take 10 minutes to be guided through a practice meaningful self-care: A self-compassion break with Kristin Neff. How to Do This Practice: Think of a situation in your life that is difficult and is causing you stress. For this practice, especially if you are new to it, it's better to choose something that is moderately difficult in your life, rather than overwhelming. Call the situation to mind and get in touch with what happened or what you think might happen. Now say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering.” This acknowledgment is a form of mindfulness—of noticing what is going on for you emotionally in the present moment, without judging that experience as good or bad. You can also say to yourself, “This hurts” or “This is stress.” Use whatever statement feels most natural to you. Next, say to yourself, “Suffering is a part of life.” This is a recognition of your common humanity with others—that all people have trying experiences, and these experiences give you something in common with the rest of humanity rather than mark you as abnormal or deficient. Other options for this statement include “Other people feel this way,” “I’m not alone,” or “We all struggle in our lives.” Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch on your chest, and say, “May I be kind to myself.” You can also consider whether there is another specific phrase that would speak to you in that particular situation. Some examples: “May I give myself the compassion that I need,” “May I accept myself as I am,” “May I learn to accept myself as I am,” “May I forgive myself,” “May I be strong,” and “May I be patient.” Today’s Happiness Break host: Kristin Neff is the creator of this practice and a professor of psychology at The University of Texas, Austin. She is a pioneer in the study of self-compassion and the author of the book, Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive.

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