We are all dealing with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, some of us more than others. Even as the vaccine brings hope, we now face the frustrating process of registering for the vaccine – scouring websites, making phones calls, seeking new resources and information. After wave after wave of challenges, many of us are at the breaking point.
To combat the potential spiral into frustration and anxiety, first, recognize there is only so much we can control – this makes us human, but not powerless. What can we control? We can acknowledge our feelings, we can show ourselves kindness and compassion. Compassion for oneself is no different than compassion for others. Instead of pushing aside pain, concerns, anxieties, pause and tell yourself ‘this is really difficult right now.’ Then ask, ‘how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?’
Let’s walk through a simple Self-Compassion Practice that can help build mental and emotional resilience…
The following exercise is from resilience expert Linda Graham for shifting our awareness and bringing acceptance to the experience of the moment. It helps to practice this self-compassion break when any emotional distress is still reasonably manageable, through practice, you can create and strengthen the neural circuits that can do this shifting and re-conditioning when things are really tough.
When you notice a surge of difficult emotion – boredom, anger, stress – pause. Put your hand over your heart (this activates the release of oxytocin, the hormone of safety & trust)
Empathize with your experience. Say to yourself “this is upsetting” or “this is hard!” or “this is scary” or even, “ouch, this hurts!”
Repeat one or more of these phrases, or try a variation that works for you…
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I accept this moment exactly as it is.
May I accept myself exactly as I am in this moment.
May I give myself all the compassion I need.
These simple mantras break the negative thought loops.
Continue repeating the phrases until you can feel the internal shift – the compassion and kindness and care for yourself becoming stronger than the original negative emotion.
Uncertain times mean navigating changes in your life that you cannot control.
They may mean doing things differently, even reaching out for help — that’s part of being resilient, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
If you need additional support, reach out to JFCS at 609-987-8100.