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It’s a fresh new year and predictably we like to kick things off with some goals, ideas and dreams for the year ahead. I’m sure high on most lists, is the dream of eradicating a certain virus from the world so we can resume life pre-covid, however we know this is somewhat out of our control. There is no denying that COVID has made life challenging and the virus’ perpetual pursuit for world domination can drain even the most motivated person. If you are reflecting on the year that has been and looking to make resolutions for 2022, be kind to yourself and consider your situation when setting your goals.

Practicing self-compassion, that is treating yourself with the same level of kindness as you would others, does not come naturally for many people. However, being kind to yourself by soothing the inner self-critic and softening negative thoughts can lead to a better sense of well-being and inner strength that enables you to also practice compassion towards others in your life.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Stan Steindl encourages following these six steps to begin practicing self-compassion in your year ahead:

1. Turn your attention to yourself, and become sensitive to your own thoughts and feelings. Step out of living on autopilot and become aware of your experiences.

2. If you identify areas in which you may be struggling or suffering, see if you can understand that suffering and be accepting and non-judgemental of yourself.

3. Know that suffering is a part of life, and a part of what it is to be human and to have these tricky human brains. Rather than criticising ourselves, we can approach ourselves with empathy and understanding.

4. And we can feel sympathy for ourselves. Not a pitying kind of sympathy, but rather a feeling that what we are going through is really hard and we feel moved by that feeling.

5. With a fundamental sense of care for our own well-being, we can bring our innate caregiving motivation to looking after ourselves and working out what we can do to help.

6. And finally, we can ask ourselves the key question: What is it that I really need, or would help me, in this moment of suffering?

If you would like to learn more about compassion, we have a whole page dedicated to it, including resources, books and workshop. Go to this page