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Mindfulness Doesn’t Make Our Problems Smaller; It Does Makes Us Stronger in Facing Them

Mindfulness Doesn’t Make Our Problems Smaller; It Does Makes Us Stronger in Facing Them

In this interview with Dr. Chris Willard, offering ourselves mindful self-care can be a crucial practice in recovering our resilience. Here’s an exercise from Resilience to offer ourselves that mindful self-care.

Exercise: Giving Yourself a Self-Compassion Break

At times when any emotional upset or distress is still reasonably manageable, taking a self-compassion break helps create and strengthen the neural circuits that can steady you when things are really tough.

1. Any moment you notice a surge of a difficult emotion — boredom, contempt, or remorse — pause and put your hand on your heart. This gesture activates the release of oxytocin, the hormone of safety and trust.

2. Empathize with your experience. Say to yourself, “This is upsetting,” “This is hard!,” “This is scary!,” “This is painful,” or “Ouch! This hurts,” to acknowledge and care about yourself as the someone experiencing distress.

3. Repeat these phrases to yourself, or substitute words that work better for you:

May I be kind to myself in this moment.

May I accept this moment exactly as it is.

May I accept myself exactly as I am in this moment.

May I give myself all the compassion I need.

4. Continue repeating the phrases until you can feel your compassion, kindness, and care for yourself becoming stronger than the original negative emotion.

5. Pause and reflect on your experience. Notice whether any possibilities of wise action arise.

6. I often practice an expanded variation of the traditional mindful self-compassion phrases:

May I be kind to myself in this moment, in any moment, in every moment.

May I accept this moment exactly as it is, any moment, every moment.

May I accept myself exactly as I am in this moment, in any moment, in every moment.

May I give myself all the compassion and courageous action that I need.

This variation, like the traditional self-compassion break, is completely portable: it’s effective anywhere, anytime. And this variation helps extend the practice of mindful self-compassion into an ongoing way of being.

Find the complete Conversations on Practices for Recovering Resilience Series here.

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