Exercise 1: How would you treat a friend?How do you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when he or she is suffering? This exercise walks you through it.
Exercise 2: Self-Compassion BreakThis exercise can be used any time of day or night and will help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion in the moment you need it most. Also available as an mp3.
Exercise 3: Exploring self-compassion through writingEverybody has something about themselves that they don’t like; something that causes them to feel shame, to feel insecure, or not “good enough.” This exercise will help you write a letter to yourself about this issue from a place of acceptance and compassion.
Exercise 4: The criticizer, the criticized, and the compassionate observerIn this exercise, you will sit in different chairs to help get in touch with different, often conflicting parts of yourself (the criticizer, the criticized, and the compassionate observer), experiencing how each aspect feels in the present moment.
Exercise 5: Changing your critical self-talkBy acknowledging your self-critical voice and reframing its observations in a more friendly way, you will eventually form the blueprint for changing how you relate to yourself long-term. This exercise will help you learn how to do it.
Exercise 6: Self-Compassion JournalKeeping a daily journal in which you process the difficult events of your day through a lens of self-compassion can enhance both mental and physical well-being. This exercise will help make self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness part of your daily life.
Exercise 7: Identifying what we really wantRemember that if you really want to motivate yourself, love is more powerful than fear. In this exercise, you’ll reframe your inner dialogue so that it is more encouraging and supportive.
Exercise 8: Taking care of the caregiverThis exercise will allow you to keep your heart open and help you care for and nurture yourself at the same time you’re caring for and nurturing others.
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Kristin Neff is Co-Founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.