In Week 7, we look at offering Self Compassion to ourselves by using the 5-minute Self-compassion Break. It was devised by Kirsten Neff and Chris Germer. The Self -Compassion Break is an exercise that we can practice informally thorough out the day (pressing the pause button) for e.g. maybe in moments of feeling under stress, overwhelmed by ‘our to do list’ or anxious about our health or health of a loved one. We can pause for 5 minutes and be with the discomfort or distress and show kindness towards ourselves. It involves treating ourselves with the same kindness and warmth that we would show to a good friend.
The Self Compassion Break
The Self-Compassion Break is broken down into three main elements: Mindfulness, common humanity, and kindness. Three phrases have been created around these elements.
- For the Mindfulness element, we will say silently to ourselves ‘This is a moment of difficulty or ‘This is a moment of suffering’
- For the common humanity element, we will say ‘Difficulties are part of everybody’s life’
- For the kindness element, we will say ‘May I be kind to myself in this moment’. To also help with this, we can place a hand over our hearts or belly region to soothe and comfort ourselves.
Feedback from the 5minute Self-Compassion Break
Doing this Meditation has made me feel a lot better within myself. I notice that a lot of people often think about themselves only after putting everyone else first. Geraldine really helped show me that regardless of the situation you are faced with, it is important to always remember we need to be kind to ourselves. I have noticed that by practicing the Self-Compassion Break meditation, it reminds me to be actively conscious about being compassionate towards myself. This meditation is really fantastic and has made me feel less stressed and even more generous. It really has improved my confidence and personal happiness in my day-to-day life.
If you wish to check out how compassionate you are to yourself, then here is a link to Kirsten Neff’s ‘Test how self-compassionate you are?’ https://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/
In this week’s Mindfulness class, we also do the R.A.I.N. practice which is associated with the Mindfulness Teacher, Tara Brach.
R.A.I.N. stands for
- Recognising (a difficult emotion is present)
- Allowing (this difficulty to be here and give it attention & space)
- Investigating (where we feel this emotion in our bodies)
- Non-identifying (understanding that this emotion is passing through and not permanent)
For me, I use the R.A.I.N. practice when an unpleasant emotion/feeling is with me for a couple of days. I see the unpleasant emotion/feeling like a child wanting attention. By doing the 20-minute RA.I.N. practice, I am giving attention to the emotion. By spending time with it, the emotion then passes on like a cloud in the sky.
Learning about the R.A.I.N practice was very interesting. Understanding each of the different components has really helped the way I look at different situations. It has also has taught me to reflect on the way I treat myself and becoming aware of my negative beliefs about myself.
Geraldine is a kind, patience and understanding teacher. I have really enjoyed learning about R.A.I.N practice meditation. Her sessions have taught me that when negative situations arise you just need a little R.A.I.N to help get through it. Recognition has let me understand what is happening. Sometimes it is best to just Allow the emotion to be here and give it space. By Investigating the emotion with a gentle approach and also feeling where I am holding the emotion has given me some clarity . This has allowed me to move into the last stage of Non-identifying. The emotion no longer feels so big and knowing that like everything in life it is passing through and not permanent.