Everything I do is built around these three words: nurture then manage.
We need to nurture ourselves in small, regular, sometimes creative ways before we can successfully implement plans and strategies to handle the stress in our lives.
Why? Because when we’re stressed our emotional processes divert our brain’s resources. We end up starving the rational part of the brain that can take more considered decisions.
Until our fight-or-flight response is reduced, trying to manage ourselves is like trying to turn down the oven in a kitchen that’s currently on fire; misguided, inefficient, and somebody’s gonna get burned. Luckily, self-compassion is our emotional fire-brigade.
Building stress resilience through self-compassion involves three areas; self-kindness, mindfulness and common humanity;
- Self-kindness: Being friendly, generous and considerate towards ourselves. Unlike numbing, which often leaves us feeling guilty, self-kindness and comfort leaves us feel restored, renewed and peaceful.
- Mindfulness: Which can be summed up in one word: notice. By noticing our thoughts and how we feel, without being caught up or impressed, we can see that we are separate from our thoughts and emotions. Meditation is simply giving ourselves time and space to notice while we put physical distractions on hold.
- Common humanity: Accepting that we’re only human, and that we’re not alone in being human. We all feel scared, a failure, too much or not enough in various areas of our lives. The shame of those feelings keeps us in isolation and disconnected from ourselves and others. Common humanity helps us to know that what we fear set us apart actually connects us.
Life happens, and just keeps happening. I can share simple strategies to be more resilient when it does.