Try a 5-Minute Self-Compassion Break

This informal mindfulness practice can help you feel connected and part of something bigger.

  • By Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer
  • Show compassion

Self-compassion is based on a sense of interconnectedness. It is acknowledging that all people are imperfect works-in-progress and that everyone makes mistakes and faces hardships in life. Self-compassion recognizes that all people experience suffering. Although it may seem obvious, this is easy to forget. It’s easy to fall into the trap and believe that everything is “supposed” that way. Or that there has been a problem. It’s very likely, and even inevitable that we will make mistakes and face hardships on a daily basis. This is normal and expected.

Self-compassion recognizes that all people experience suffering.

These matters are not always rational. We feel alone and isolated when we are suffering. Remembering that pain is part and parcel of human experience can transform any moment of suffering into a moment when we are connected with others. You feel the same pain in difficult times as I do in easy times. Although the circumstances may be different and the level of pain may vary, the fundamental experience of suffering human beings is the same.

You can do this informal practice slowly to help you find your way through daily difficulties.

A guided Self-Compassion Retreat

This self-compassion break is a way to help remind ourselves to apply the three core components of self-compassion–mindfulness, common humanity, and kindness–when difficulties arise in our lives. This helps us feel secure and taken care of by harnessing the power to soothe our feelings. It is important to choose language that works for you. You don’t want to get into an internal debate about the meaning of the words. Some people prefer the word “word”. Struggle To the word suffering, Or, you can prefer the word Support Or Protect To the word Kindness. You can try out several variations, and then you can see what works best for you.

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You might want to read these instructions with your eyes closed, so that you can take in more of the inside.

A 5-Minute Self-Compassion Break is a great option

  1. Consider a stressful situation in your life. Such as a relationship or health problem, a work problem, or any other struggle.
  2. Pick a problem that falls within the moderate to severe range. This is not a problem as we are trying to develop the self-compassion resource slowly.
  3. Visualize the situation in your mind’s eyes. What is the setting? What is the setting? What’s the deal? What is happening? may happen?
  4. Do you feel any discomfort in your body when you think about this problem? If you are unable to solve the problem, try a slightly harder one.
  5. Try saying, “This is a moment for suffering.” That’s mindfulness. Maybe another wording is more appropriate. Here are some options: It hurts. Ouch. This is very stressful.
  6. Try saying to yourself, “Suffering’ is part of life.” This is common humanity. There are other options: You are not the only one. This is something that everyone experiences, just as me. This is what it feels like to be in this situation.
  7. Now, give yourself the soothing touch You have learned in the previous exercise. Try saying to yourself, “May I be kind and compassionate to myself” or “May my self give me what I need.”
  8. Maybe you are in dire need of some kind words and support To hear from someone right away in such a difficult situation. There are several options: Accept me as I am. Let me learn to accept myself for who I am. I will forgive myself. May I remain strong. May I be patient.
  9. If you have difficulty finding the right words, Imagine that you are the friend or family member who is experiencing the same problems as you. What message would you send to that person? What would be a simple message you could send to this friend?
  10. Try to convey the same message to your self.
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Excerpt taken from The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook Kristin Neff, Chris Germer

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