The Amazing Healing Power of Self-Kindness

Self-kindness is an important component of being healthy. Acceptance and compassion towards yourself is necessary for both mental and physical health. But letting go of worry, self judgement and criticisms can be a difficult thing to do. Guest blogger and joy-expert, Louise Pistole shows us how.

I have been following Louise’s blog, Discovery Your Joy, for about a year now. She has such inspiring articles on how to overcome challenges and find joy and happiness.

I was reading recent studies that show self-kindness improves the outcome of cancer therapies. Techniques to encourage acceptance and compassion towards oneself can reduce pain and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors. So, I asked Louise if she would write this guest post for Pink Ribbon Runner. I was thrilled when she agreed.

I hope you enjoy this guest article as much as I do.


Being touched by and open to one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, generating the desire to alleviate one’s suffering and to heal oneself with kindness 




Kristin Neff, PhD.-


The Power of Self Kindness

Most of the time when we think of kindness, our thoughts go to doing good things for other people. While kindness to others leaves us with a warm feeling inside, I want to talk to you about the power of self-kindness.

We often feel…

            Stressed

            Overwhelmed

            Worried

            Tired

            Unloved

What would you add to the list?

Nurturing Yourself

Wherever you are in your own journey through life, you can reap numerous healing benefits from being kind to yourself.

Our bodies are designed to be nurtured, loved, and respected. We offer these parts of ourselves to our family, friends, and loved ones. Now it’s time to fill yourself up with compassion, love, and honor.

Take time to think back over some of the kind things you’ve done for others recently. Maybe you’ve…

            Sent a card to a friend.

            Called to check on a loved one.



            Taken a snack to a co-worker.

            Encouraged someone in need.

Wouldn’t it be fun if you had someone constantly by your side just waiting to do good things for you? Guess what? You are that person!

You can pamper yourself without driving miles and miles and spending a weekend at a spa retreat. Can you find small pockets of time in your day for a boost of self-kindness?

Perhaps leave the dishes in the sink and snuggle up in your favorite chair to read. My favorite spoiling luxury is soaking in the hot tub with bath salts. Or spend a little extra time on your hair or makeup. You’ll feel better on the inside if you pamper yourself on the outside.

10 Ways to Shower Yourself with Self-Kindness

1. Spend time each day doing deep breathing or meditation

Sometimes this is hard to do at first. But find a quiet and comfortable spot. Take deep breaths in and let them out slowly. Soft music may help you stay focused on your breathing.

If your mind starts to fill up with chatter, gently bring your focus back to your breathing. You’ll probably be able to feel the stress draining from your body. Afterwards, you might notice how clear your mind and thoughts are. Gradually, you’ll be able to increase this quiet time and look forward to it.



2. Take a walk

This is one idea that is high on my list of self-kindness. Walking outside in the fresh air seems to cleanse your mind of to-do lists or problems. Notice the grass and trees, squirrels, or any pools of water. Listen to the birds sing. Feel the breeze on your face. Do you already feel refreshed just thinking about your stroll?

3. Make your gratitude list

The more thankful you are, the more you’ll have to be thankful for. Have you heard that before? It’s definitely a truth.

As you begin to express gratitude on a regular basis for all your blessings, you’ll realize how much more you have to be grateful for. This is something you can do while you’re driving or walking. But when you take time to write down your gratitude list, you’ll feel it deepening in your mind as your pen moves across the paper.

4. Smile often & laugh daily

Smiling and laughter immediately turn on all the good hormones in your body. They also are both great forms of stress relief. Children and pets are usually good to bring a smile to your face. You can always search YouTube and find something for a hearty laugh.

5. Talk to a friend

Your friends are the people in your life who lift you up and encourage you. Those are the ones you want to chat with on a regular basis. Whether your visit is on the phone or in person, you’ll be inspired by talking with your bestie for a while. Sharing your wins and your problems is always good your heart and soul.

6. Eat healthy

We all have our own versions of eating healthy. I’ll tell you that I’m worse than any 5 year old when it comes to food. Even though I know the value of healthy food and drinking lots of water, I am not a good role model. So, I say to you, do the best you can with nourishing your body. Do your research and find what works for you.

7. Write in your journal

Many years ago, I started writing in journals on a regular basis. I wrote about feelings, emotions, random thoughts and lots of quotes. I made lists of things I didn’t want to forget. Often, I’ll go back through my journals and reread all those pages.

It is absolutely healing to put all your thoughts on paper. It is also therapeutic when you reread it months or years later. You can shed anger, stress, and sadness through your written words. Use your journal to write loving notes to yourself too. It’s your journal. Write what your heart needs to hear.

8. Read uplifting books or devotionals

There are shelves of books with words of encouragement available today. Also, online, you will find more sites with inspiration to fill your soul. You may have a favorite author or a friend may be able to help you choose a book with words of kindness. Taking time for a short reading every morning is sure to start your day in a positive way.

9. Rest without guilt

One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is often the one thing we feel most guilty about. Rest. Your body rejuvenates and re-energizes when you rest. It doesn’t matter whether you need an afternoon nap or to go to bed early at night. Rest is vital to your health and not something to feel guilty about.

10. Use positive affirmations

Telling yourself positive statements is one of the best acts of self-kindness. Affirmations reinforce how special you are and remind you to keep going. Regular use of your positive thoughts will help you to ‘Believe in yourself.’

Choose your own statements, write them on a sticky note, and attach to your mirror. They will be a regular reminder to love yourself. Here are a few I use…

            I am good enough.

            I have what I need.

            I am loved.

And I always like to end with ‘All is well.’


Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.

– Edmund Lee –


Bonus Tip: Find your happy place and go there often

Where is it that your heart feels its’ lightest? Where do you go when you need to refresh and renew your soul? For me, I am my ideal best sitting by the sea watching the waves roll in and breathing the salt air. I love to watch the seagrass gently blowing in the breeze and the bird formations as they fly overhead. I feel calm, relaxed, and ready to handle life.

Find your own happy place and go there often. You can go there by closing your eyes, seeing and feeling the surroundings. Rest and stay there a while in your mind. You are treating yourself to the ultimate gift of self-kindness.

Conclusion

Dear readers, I hope you have felt the love I had for you while writing this article. I thought of each of you; the battles you’ve faced, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and the glorious light in your life.

As your day goes forth, be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.

All this self-kindness will fill your heart with joy!


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Comments

  1. Iana says:

    Great post. Sometimes we forget about being kind to ourselves and I think it is beyond important to direct the kindness not only towards other people, but towards ourselves as well 🙂

  2. Andrea Sprague says:

    What a beautiful list. For me, journaling is such a gift to myself and a big part of self care. And thank you for the reminder about positive affirmations. They really work (when I do them more regularly).

  3. Lexi says:

    Love this post! Self-kindness is so important. It’s sad how so many of us say such mean things to ourselves, things we would never say to any of our loved ones. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Karine Gareau says:

    Finding your happy place isn,t always easy but when you get there, things are more positive and your outlook on life is different. Great post!

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