Claudia de Garmo
Most human beings would benefit from learning to be kinder to them selves by practicing self compassion, mindful curiosity and awareness towards themselves and the inner critical voice inside their head. It can be helpful to build a toolbox of healthy coping skills to have on hand to help when feeling depressed or anxious. Here are some ideas:
- Pay attention to your thoughts, especially the inner voice that might be fueling feelings of depression or anxiety. Once you become more aware, acknowledge the inner critical voice and the possible reasons for its existence. Is that part trying to protect you from making a mistake, feeling ashamed or rejected? Begin to have a curious, open self compassionate dialogue with that part. What does that part need from you? What is it trying to protect you from? Write in your journal to gain clarity and understanding. Make friends with your inner voice and learn to recognize when it is benignly reflecting your conscience or needs some reassurance.
- Practice taking a kinder, more self compassionate approach to what you think are imperfections. Treat yourself as you would a friend or loved one.
- Pay attention to your body and what it might be telling you and what it needs. If we can find ways to calm the nervous system and soothe the physical, it can help calm feelings and thoughts. Give voice to bodily sensations. Think about what you can do for your body. Do you need more sleep? Are you eating enough, do you need to drink less alcohol, caffeine or other substances that could contribute to anxiety? Would you benefit from a massage, gentle or vigorous exercise? Would stretching begin the process of releasing tension in your body. Might your body benefit from the simple act of placing your hands on your belly or hands on your heart.
- Take contrary action. Do what might seem difficult but what is an act of self care that compassionately supports your goals and values for a better life.
- Engage in something you enjoy or a guided meditation of activities you have enjoyed in the past. It could stimulate the release of positive brain chemicals which will lead to improved mood.
- Reach out and call a friend or loved one for support or to be of service.
- Go to therapy. Often times it is very helpful to talk to a professional.
Anxiety and depression are more common than one would think. Help yourself by utilizing some of the tools suggested above.