GREAT HEALTH: Self-Compassion: Rediscover It | Great Health Guide
GREAT HEALTH: Self-Compassion: Rediscover It

GREAT HEALTH: Self-Compassion: Rediscover It

‘Self Compassion: Rediscover It’ by Dr Suzanne Henwood published in Great Health Guide (Jan 2017). Make rediscovering self compassion for yourself a priority this year. Self compassion is crucial for your health & wellbeing. Here’s are ten great tips on how to bring self compassion back into your life. 
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GREAT HEALTH: Self-Compassion: Rediscover It

written by Dr Suzanne Henwood



  • Loving myself is selfish?

  • I should focus on caring for others?

  • It’s not right to give myself time and energy?


It’s a sad fact that the art of self-compassion appears to have dwindled in recent years and there is a need for us to reconnect and rediscover it for our health, wellbeing, ability to thrive and serve others. Instead of putting so much pressure on ourselves to reach unrealistic expectations – what would life be like if we started loving ourselves into a more desirable future?

Dr Kristen Neff is probably one of the most well-known names in the field of self- compassion research. She says: ‘Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self- compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?’ 

There is a wealth of literature available on self- compassion that you can explore. I recommend that you take some time to do so, but for simplicity I have outlined some of the common themes here:

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‘In very simple terms, self-compassion then is about treating yourself the same as you would treat someone you deeply loved and cared for. It is not about changing your focus purely onto yourself – but about achieving a reasonable balance between caring for self and caring for others. Indeed, it could be argued if we don’t start doing this very soon, our capacity to continue to care and serve others will diminish over time, making us powerless to do what we love most – which includes caring for others.’


  • Includes an intention to be kind to yourself, making a conscious decision to stop that harsh inner critic which can judge so harshly and unfairly.

  • Recognises your own humanity, accepting that you are good enough and you do not need to strive for perfection.

  • Is about raising your awareness to your connection to others, accepting that you are not alone and that you do not exist in isolation.

  • Is about deliberately using tools (such as mBraining, Meditation or Mindfulness) to come into the present moment, to fully experience yourself in that moment.

So, if this is not something that currently is part of your way of living life – what can you do to introduce such a practice in simple easy steps?

My Top Ten Simple Steps to bring self- compassion into your life in a way that is exactly right for you.

1. Take a step back and imagine you are your own best friend: what advice or support and encouragement would you give to him/her?

2. Stop and take a moment to breathe a feeling of love and kindness into your heart: don’t just think it – feel it, recognising the colour, feeling, texture and movement associated with that feeling in your chest area.

3. Write yourself some great advice:maybe through a letter, or even a short Facebook or Instagram post (you can choose whether or not to publish it).

4. Be grateful:put a diary by your bedside and every night before you go to sleep write three amazing facts about yourself and/or what you have achieved that day.

5. Nurture and sooth yourself:what would give deep bodily, visceral nurturing for your body – do that at least once a week. This may be a massage, going for a run, spending quality time with a friend, asking for a hug – whatever works best for you and of course you can do it more often as it gets even easier.

6. Quieten the old critical internal voice:notice it has a volume switch and turn it down, maybe even turn it so low you cannot even hear it any longer when it is not being resourceful for you.

7. Imagine your desired future: what do you REALLY want? Quieten your inner voice and focus on your heart. Now ask your heart what it truly desires – then provide it.

8. Take time to connect with nature:a beach, the bush, walking on grass – whatever refreshes your soul.

9. Take time out to truly focus on your breathing: to settle your nervous system gently bring your breathing into a beautiful balanced pattern where the time of the ‘in’ breath exactly matches the time of your ‘out’ breath. Stay in this breathing pattern for 3 minutes and feel your body settle.

10. Give yourself a self-hug:place the flat of the palm of your right hand over your heart area, so you can feel your heart beat and hold it there for at least 20 seconds, while saying kind, gentle, loving statements to yourself. Taking time out to deliberately and consciously introduce techniques of self-compassion into your life can make a tremendous difference to how you feel. Give it a go for two weeks and let me know how you get on.

Author of this article:
Dr Suzanne Henwood is an Associate Professor in Health and Social Sciences and a Master Trainer of mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques). She can be contacted through her website.

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Author Kathryn Dodd

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