This O-News is a little different from others we’ve sent, but the content within is not a substitute for professional advice or treatment.
Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. But when a third of the general population is reporting feelings of anxiety and depression, attending to your emotional well-being can’t wait.
So let us (or, OK, an actual expert) introduce you to “self-compassion.” No need to crack a psych textbook for this one: Self-compassion is exactly what it sounds like.
Because while some people think being hard on themselves is motivating, studies show critical self-talk actually causes more harm than good, especially in difficult situations when you’re faced with uncertainty (See: this calendar year).
People who practice self-compassion are proven to feel more resilient, empowered, and happier than those who don’t. (Talk about high ROI.)
Here’s how you can get started:
Write a list of 10 things you’re grateful for and why.
Sure, it seems basic. But this exercise helps you recognize the presence of community in your life, which widens your scope of perspective. You’ll reflect on our common humanity—a core component of self-compassion. (EXAMPLE: we’re grateful for people who take the time to read our li’l newsletter: you’re great.)
Once you’ve finished your list, store it close by and refer to it often. For Brokaw Mental Health Bonus Points™, try writing a new list every week and see how it impacts your mood over time.
Mindfulness is “a non-judgmental, receptive state of mind in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them.”
After all, you can’t feel compassion for your emotions if you’re also minimizing them. Mindfulness lets you take a mental step back and say, “I may feel angry and disappointed now that my very good joke about goats got cut from the script, but that’s OK to feel and I know it’ll pass.”
The way you communicate and enforce your limits with those around you is directly tied to your sense of self-worth.
So if you’re overwhelmed with work, set a time when you’ll close your computer. Avoid responding to emails after-hours, or, if it’s an urgent matter, make it clear that it’s the exception, not the rule.
If you feel anxious whenever you see Lester Holt’s face, place limits on your news intake and doom-scrolling through Twitter.
If phone calls with family are devolving into political free-for-alls…yeah, that one’s probably inevitable, so…maybe try a little loving-kindness?
(If you need additional help getting started in this area, the Personal Bill of Rights is a great resource.)
These are just a few ideas to place you on the path to self-compassion. For more exercises, guided meditations, and information, check out self-compassion.org.
Have a mentally-hygienic weekend, everybody!
– Your always-here-for-you friends at Brokaw