Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Dr. Kristi Neff is one of the pioneers in the study of self-compassion as a tool for psychological wellbeing. There are many definitions of self-compassion out there, but hers hinges on three tenets:
1) Self-kindness vs. judgment
Self-compassion involves being kind and understanding to ourselves, just as we would be to a friend or loved one. It means treating ourselves with the same compassion we would treat others when we are going through a difficult time.
2) Common humanity
Self-compassion is not about being selfish or self-indulgent. It is about recognizing that we are all human beings who make mistakes, and that we all experience pain and suffering. When we are self-compassionate, we are able to accept ourselves with all of our flaws and imperfections. We are also able to be more understanding of our own limitations and to forgive ourselves for our mistakes.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. It entails paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When we are mindful, we observe thoughts and feelings from a distance, without getting caught up in them. This allows us to be aware of our thoughts and feelings while making choices about how to respond to them, without exaggerating or suppressing them.
There are many benefits to self-compassion. Studies have shown that self-compassion can lead to:
There are equally many ways to cultivate self-compassion. You can start by being kind and accepting to yourself, practicing mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations, spending time with people who are supportive and kind, and engaging in activities that help you feel good about yourself. You can also practice self-compassion through guided audio exercises such as this one:
Self-compassion is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. But it is a skill that is well worth the effort. When we are self-compassionate, we are able to live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT in-person and via Teletherapy in Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.
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Copyright © 2014 Daniele V. Levy, PhD
Bay Area Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
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