With January well and truly underway, many of us have returned to work more determined than ever to put some of those New Years’ Resolution goals into practice.
Whether it is to learning new skills, getting more sleep or even losing a few pounds – facing a new year gives us a new opportunity to kick stat new habits for better health, well-being and success.
Although New Years’ resolutions can be a positive, motivating force, they can also lead to high levels of self-criticism or negative self-talk (e.g. the internal conversation you have with yourself).
Focusing on what you didn’t achieve in 2017 and regrets from the previous year often sparks negative self-talk with thoughts such as “did I do enough last year?”, leading to emotions of guilt, disappointment and shame.
Studies have found that negative self-talk is one of the major blocks in achieving goals, demotivating people into inaction by lowering people’s sense of their own capabilities and self-worth. In addition, shame is highly linked to an increased risk in developing depression. However, there are alternatives.
Drawn from Buddhist psychology, self-compassion is a relatively new concept introduced in the last decade. The simple definition of self-compassion, is the act of being kind to yourself unconditionally. Instead of judging and criticising yourself when reflecting over last year, self-compassion allows you to be kind and understanding to yourself when confronted with unmet goals, mistakes or regrets.
Having self-compassion means being able to recognize the difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person.
Self-compassion can help tackle the impact of negative self-talk, increasing self-acceptance which leads to higher levels of motivation, increasing your ability to meet your goals.
Research throughout the last decade has consistently found significant links between self-compassion and improved self-worth and resilience as well as more satisfying and healthy relationships. These all contribute to self-compassion significantly improving psychological wellbeing.
Tips for implementing self-compassionate:
1. Treat yourself as you would a small child.
Although many adults struggle to be compassionate to themselves, they are often able to be compassionate to others, particularly children. By giving yourself the very same compassion that one might give to a child, a good friend, or a pet, you may find you are able to be kinder to yourself.
2. Practice mindfulness.
When we find ourselves caught in a barrage of self-criticism, it is often because we have gotten swept away in our negative storylines — usually ones that often play on repeat in our heads. This process of over-identification, giving in to our internal critic, is usually accompanied by its counterpart, negative rumination. Mindfulness, or the state of non-judgmental awareness, is the antidote to both.
One simple way of implementing mindfulness is by practicing awareness of thoughts and feelings, particularly the “critical inner voice” — without trying to change anything. This awareness can counteract over-identification and promotes change through self-acceptance.
3. Remember that you’re not alone.
An important part of self-compassion is remembering that to feel is to be human, and that whatever you’re going through is also being experienced by millions of others. By being kind to ourselves and realizing that the human condition is imperfect we can see that our flaws and setbacks can connect us and not divide us.
4. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Self-compassion is about giving ourselves room to be human, to be flawed and sensitive, lazy and unproductive, without having to define ourselves by those flashes of feelings and ways of being.
Try giving yourself a metaphorical ‘permission slip’ this new years’, giving yourself permission to make mistakes.
5. Seek support.
Tackling negative-self talk is not an easy process and can lead to lower mood, depression and anxiety. If you feel overwhelmed by low self-esteem and negative self-talk, counselling can provide a safe environment to explore and manage these difficulties.
Ensure you have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) in place. You can contact Acacia Connection on 1300 364 273 to arrange a program thats right for your organisation. Click here to visit their website.
The Workshop Lab delivers specialised workplace training designed to provide employees with the skills they need for developing optimal health, happiness and workplace effectiveness.
Our top workshop picks this month…
1. Self Care Strategies Workshop
This workshop provides real strategies and insight into the science behind the importance of physical, mental, cognitive and social well-being for optimal functioning in the workplace.
Duration: available in 2-Hr, 3-Hr or Half Day.
This workshop sends a message that the organisation not only cares about employee health and well-being but also recognises the link between self-care and productivity.
2. Developing a Culture of Compassion & Empathy Workshop
This workshop is new for 2018 and focuses on the importance of building a culture around compassion and empathy. This workshop focuses on extending compassion for yourself and others including , colleagues and customers. This is especially important during difficult times which is quite often when we need to extend out compassion and empathetic skills the most.
Duration: available in 2-Hr or 3-Hr.
Ask us for workshop overviews if these spark your imagination. Call us on 1300 390 366.