Self-compassion break

Hand on Heart

Self-compassion break

This short practice trains us to bring mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness to our suffering.

If we’re currently experiencing emotional discomfort or suffering, we can work with this.

Otherwise, we’re invited to think of a situation in our lives that is difficult, that is causing us stress. Calling the situation to mind, and seeing if we can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in our body.

Now, saying to ourselves:

1. “This is a moment of suffering…”

This is mindfulness, acknowledging what is happening.

Other options include:

“This hurts.”
“I’m feeling stressed.”

2. “Suffering is a part of life…”

This is common humanity. We all suffer from time to time.

Other options include:

“Other people feel this way too.”
“I’m not alone.”
“We all struggle in our lives.”

Now, placing our hand over our heart, feeling the warmth of our hand and the gentle, touch of our hand on our chest. Or adopting a different soothing touch; perhaps a reassuring rub on the arm, the tummy, folding the hands…

Saying to ourselves:

3. “May I be kind to myself…”

We can also ask ourselves, “What do I need to hear right now, to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to us in our particular situation, such as:

“May I give myself the compassion that I need.”
“May I learn to accept myself as I am.”
“May I forgive myself.”
“May I be strong.”
“May I be patient.”

This practice can be used any time of day or night, to help us remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when we need them the most.

“Self-compassion really means
being on your own side.”

…any questions? Problems? Feel free to get in touch.

Listen to an audio of the Self-Compassion Break.

If you’re interested in the theory of how this works, see the three components of self-compassion (coming soon).


Content gratefully adapted from the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training Course. Lyndi is a graduate of this course, based on the work of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. Find out more or register for an MSC course in Brisbane.

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