Kindness exercises

As an addendum to the last post on being kinder to ourselves, here are two exercises to implement the goal of increased self-kindness.

1) Loving-kindness meditation is a classic strategy to open the heart and increase positive feelings toward self. While seemingly simple, this exercise can be incredibly powerful in releasing pent-up negativity toward self, allowing the love in your heart to rush in for YOU. And you only need three minutes.

Settle into a quiet, comfortable spot and close your eyes. Begin to focus on your breath, simply noticing the in and out process. Feel your lungs expand, feel your chest and abdomen rise and fall, notice the air moving past your nostrils. Once you feel the rhythm of your breath, repeat to yourself for several minutes:

May I be safe. May I be happy. May I feel love. May I live with ease.

On Thursday, when I posted the most recent post, I was upset about a decision I’d made, chastising myself for trusting someone else to do a job that I could’ve done. The perfectionist in me was running rampant with insults after the job was NOT done to my satisfaction: “How could you have been so stupid? You could’ve saved the money and done it yourself!” Suddenly, I remembered what I’d just posted about being kind to myself. I still seemed unable to turn it off. I closed my eyes, repeated the above phrases ten times, and was able to let the event go.

2) I’ve addressed bragging before, and how nice girls DON’T. So I thoroughly enjoyed this post over at Inviting Joy last week. Seems like a wonderful way to be nice to yourself, so take a few minutes to compose your own highlight reel today. This week, mine includes that ability to switch gears from perfection-driven harpy to calm self that I refer to above.

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