daily practice, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion

Two Short Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Practices

My favourite calming Mindfulness & Self Compassion exercise for my nervous system (and clients nervous systems) is the Kind Hand exercise. Placing your hand over your heart and applying gentle pressure and warmth, convinces your mind and body that you are receiving a hug and you experience an increase in the soothing, care and connection feel good chemicals oxytocin and serotonin….while reducing the stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol when we feel under threat in someway.

An extended exercise of this is to first imagine in your hand a baby animal and you are comforting and soothing this scared little one with soothing words and touch – AND then you place your hand on your heart and bring in a little of that soothing touch and words that we often so easily give to others yet so often find hard to give to ourselves (A good example of this kind hand exercise is here: https://jenniferkemp.com.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Holding-a-Baby-Chick.pdf

My second favourite Mindfulness & Compassion Exercise is the Self Compassion Break- I practice this daily and I facilitate clients to use this often too. This exercise was developed by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer (Fully recommend checking out their recorded practices and online courses here: https://centerformsc.org/practice-msc/guided-meditations-and-exercises/

With the Self -Compassion Break we practice:

  • mindfully noticing the emotions, thoughts and sensations in our body when we feel triggered by something or someone and mindfully label these (e.g. I’m feeling a churning in my stomach and my thoughts are racing, is this shame or fear?).
  • reminding ourselves that whatever we are experiencing is a common human experience and we reflect on all the people on our planet earth who are currently feeling something similar
  • and then we ask ourselves what do we need in this moment to calm my mind and body

This practice takes our mind and body out of threat mode and into care and connection mode, we feel less alone and isolated, we feel connected to others and we bring the essence of care to ourselves. AND this practice takes a lot of practice (hence the name!) because it is easy to forget, or get caught up in old patterns, or be pulled off track with the inner critical self talk that can beat ourselves up and add to our suffering (e.g. “Why am I feeling this way, I shouldn’t be feeling this way”) and then we just feel much worse (Speaking from experience!!).

And with each practice we need to bring mindfulness and self-compassion so that we allow ourselves to be imperfect and human, to make mistakes, to forget, AND so that we can mindfully savour the impact of the practice when we remember to do it, even if the impact is tiny to start with! To experience meaningful, long term change we need to take very small achievable steps, and allow for the time it takes to build a practice that comes easily and without effort….(weeks, months, years!)

Practice for 365 days before you judge whether it is effective of not!

Jack Kornfield

So I’m curious, when is going to be a good time of day for you to try just one element of these practices (will you start with placing your hand over your heart?), what will help you to remember? and which element of these practices appeal to you? Have you tried these before? What did you like or not like? All information in answering these questions if useful for you to know what works for you…

If you wish to develop more of a mindfulness & self-compassion practice look into joining our Facebook group where we share resources and what works for each of us in a safe and welcoming space: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindfulnessandselfcompassionpractice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s