(DailyVibe) – Showing other people kindness often comes more easily than showing kindness to ourselves. Dr. Emma Seppaula of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education developed an infographic to show the scientific benefit of self-compassion, a key component of being kind to ourselves. In it, she emphasizes the many benefits of being kind to ourselves–including increased productivity, decreased stress, and greater personal resilience.
Here are 7 easy ways to show ourselves kindness:
1. Pay Yourself a Compliment
It may seem silly, but complimenting ourselves is a wonderful way to be kind. It helps us develop positive self-talk, and it shifts the focus away from what we don’t like onto what we do like about ourselves. Often, we are more critical of ourselves than others, but by complimenting ourselves, we learn to appreciate rather than criticize.
2. Give Up Perfection
Expecting perfection from ourselves sets us up for failure. No one is perfect. When we accept that we will make mistakes, we show ourselves kindness.
3. Spin Flaws as Challenges
When we think of our flaws, we often think negatively about ourselves. When we begin to see flaws as challenges, we empower ourselves to work on those areas without simultaneously shaming ourselves for them.
For instance, if we struggle with a quick temper, we don’t have to feel bad about it. Instead, we can work on developing better coping skills to deal with anger as it arises. Anger itself is a normal human emotion. Learning to deal with it better doesn’t deny that it’s a struggle for us, but it does help us find constructive ways to manage it.
4. Start the Day with Gratitude
When we start the day with gratitude, we shift our focus to the areas of our life that make us feel thankful. It can help set the tone of the day, which is an act of self-kindness.
5. Give Yourself a Break — Figuratively and Literally
Yes, we need to show ourselves compassion when we fail to measure up to our own (or anyone else’s) standards, but we also need to give ourselves a literal break. Taking breaks through the day has been shown to increase productivity, but it also helps us take better care of ourselves throughout the day.
6. Get Physical
Exercise has been linked to slowing the effects of aging, improving mental focus, and reducing stress. Keeping fit and taking the time for exercise is a way to be kind to ourselves.
7. Practice Healthy Boundaries
Practicing healthy boundaries is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves. Boundaries outline the behavior we are willing to accept in our lives. It offers clear guidelines for what we will and won’t allow. When we hold a boundary, we aren’t punishing anyone; we are simply protecting our space.
Healthy boundaries can be as simple as being clear that we do not want to be disturbed during work time. It can even look like making self-care a priority and declining other obligations during the time we’ve set aside for ourselves. By keeping healthy boundaries in our lives, we do ourselves a great kindness.
Being kind to ourselves is an important part of managing our mental health–and with it, our physical health. Every day offers new opportunities for kindness. It just helps to remind ourselves that we deserve kindness, too.
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