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A lot of self-compassion exercises require time and thought. Here is a very short exercise that you can do anytime and anywhere you find yourself in need of some “emergency” self-compassion. This is an adaptation of an exercise that was originally created by Kristin Neff, professor of psychology at Texas University:


A short break for self-compassion

Think about what is causing stress in your life, perhaps at this very moment. Try to note how the stress feels in your body, along with other feelings it may cause. 

Now, say to yourself (whisper or think the words):

What I’m experiencing right now is painful. This is a moment of suffering. 

Suffering is a part of life. 

Many others feel just like I do. I’m not alone in this struggle. 

Now put your hand over your heart. Try to note how having your hand on your chest feels.


Next, say something comforting to yourself, for example: 

I will be kind to myself, no matter what happens now. (You can say anything that feels calming, but it should preferably be encouraging, for example "I forgive myself for the things I haven’t done right.")


This exercise can be used to create a little bit of space for reflection and calm, anytime during the day. Good luck!