Self-compassion or Self-criticism

Do you give yourself a hard time?

Do you feel guilty when you take time out for yourself?

Is it time you gave yourself a break?

But how can we give ourselves a break?

We all know self-criticism is unhelpful but it can be a hard habit to break. When things go wrong it can be helpful to reflect on why, not so we blame ourselves but to help us to learn from our experiences.

But often we reflect, ruminate and go over what we could have done differently in a very judgemental way.


We all know this isn’t helpful but as I said it can be hard habit to break.

Make time to stop and stare

Paying attention to your environment is a really simple way to remind our body and mind that we are fine and help bring down our baseline anxiety level. It’s daydreaming whilst being present. 

Rather than daydreaming whilst worrying about what’s happened in the past or might happen in the future.

7 simple steps

So next time you find yourself looking around your environment, follow these 7 steps:-

  1. Notice when you’re doing it, being aware of it happening naturally and spontaneously
  2. Notice what you’re thinking
  3. Experiment with shifting your thoughts, start to pay more attention to what you see.
  4. Take in as much detail as possible, notice what you see, and hear. Try using as many senses as you can.
  5. You may like to label what you see in your mind verbally. This can be particularly helpful if your thoughts are ‘loud’ and hard to shift your attention away from.
  6. Notice if there’s any shift in the physical state of your body.
  7. Try to stay with that feeling for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Noticing the small details

To improve this skill, keep practising it regularly.

If you’re able to practise this often when you’re not feeling stressed, your body and mind will begin to remember the calm state that you experience when everything is fine.  Your alertness level will start to decrease.

It’s a bit like stepping off the hamster wheel and looking around to realise we don’t have to keep running all the time.

Our body and mind do know how to rest when they’re given the chance to.

Being present

This technique has many names, being in the moment, orientation, or being present.  It has been practised as a form of meditation for thousands of years.

It is one of the simple mindfulness tools that we practise on the self-care retreat day.

It’s a healthy habit that doesn’t take any time to do. You’re doing it already. Try the 7 steps above to make it more of an effective technique and a way to allow your system to rest.

Practice v’s application

If you try it when you’re feeling really anxious, you’re asking a lot from your system.  Not only are you learning the skill, but you’re also trying to apply it at the same time.

It’s always easier to learn the skill first and then when you’ve practised it a lot, try applying it when you’re feel slightly stressed.

I love to hear how these techniques land for you.  Let me know if you try this and how you get on.


Stay connected. Beth x

p.s to find out when the next retreat day is go to the workshop page

Beth Cox yoga therapist

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