Mindfulness, Empathy and Self Compassion… We hear these words all the time. They form part of our language. In the workplace they get the tick of approval, and social media throws them out wherever possible. In light of both world-wide and Australia-wide events that have occurred since late 2019 and the beginning of this year, our ability to be mindful, empathic and show self-compassion is being been tested constantly.
It is not surprising that many of our less healthy behaviours are coming to the fore and our healthier habits are slackening off drastically.
In line with what is happening around us, it is no wonder that many of us are feeling anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. It is not surprising that many of our less healthy behaviours are coming to the fore and our healthier habits are slackening off drastically. And I must say, the cold weather and shorter days don’t seem to help much either. So when we make that commitment to ourselves every Sunday night that tomorrow is the start of a new week, and the start of a new diet and exercise regime, new goals, new work schedule and so on… we do have good intentions. We really do.
But… Big but. When we are in the fight flight stress response, using our Amygdala reptilian brain to make decisions…. sorry guys you haven’t got a hope in you-know-what to succeed further than knowing if you’re safe or not. Chronic stress, because that is what most of us are in at the moment, is making it more difficult for us to use our prefrontal cortex to make wiser decisions and choices, that will all round bring about happier, healthier outcomes for us.
Tune into yourself, hear what you are longing for and needing.
In order to bring about that much needed relaxation response, it is time to start being mindful and showing some self-compassion. To turn towards ourself and show empathy to ourself. We have always been taught to be kind to others, to respect others, to think of others – and of course that is so true, but just for some time in the day, take that learning and partner with yourself. Tune into yourself, hear what you are longing for and needing. Put your oxygen mask on, so that you can be supportive, empathic and compassionate to those around you. It is by being mindful that we can become less reactive, move out of those automatic knee-jerk behaviours that are destructive and harmful. Showing compassion to yourself can lead to better self-regulation, a sense of inner calm, a reduction of anxiety and fear and ultimately, positive relationships.
Habits are easy to learn, comfortable to stay entrenched in and really difficult to break but, the freedom you feel when you break the habit of automatic pilot is liberating. Today, now, this moment is as good as any to take a breath, pause and notice your thoughts. This simple pause, can often prevent a cascade of negative, harmful and unwanted outcomes.