10+ Simple Self Compassion Exercises to Try

Rachel Sharpe
Rachel Sharpe

Self compassion exercises can help you show yourself more love. Let’s face it, we could all be a little bit nicer to ourselves. It’s important to practice self compassion mindfulness so we catch ourselves when we’re being a huge jerk to ourselves. We wouldn’t let someone else treat us badly, so what gives us the right to do it to ourselves? In this article, we’ll discuss some simple self compassion examples of exercises for you to try out yourself.

10+ Simple Self Compassion Exercises to Try

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1. 10 Minute Loving Kindness Meditation

One of the simplest self compassion exercises can be done in as little as ten minutes. Using a meditation app like Declutter The Mind, you can follow along to a ten-minute loving kindness meditation. In this meditation, you’ll be walked through the steps to show compassion to yourself, a loved one, a stranger, and a difficult person. This might sound like a difficult meditation to try your first time. It can be hard to show yourself compassion if you’re not used to it. But don’t worry, you’ll be guided through the experience to ease some of the tension. With a regular practice of a loving kindness meditation, you’ll find you’ll become more compassionate to yourself and to the people who’ve hurt you. You’ll become more understanding of yourself and others because you’ll develop more empathy through this self compassion exercise.

2. Practice Gratitude

Woman writing into a gratitude journal

Practicing gratitude is one of the best self compassion exercises to ensure a strong mental health. Each day, write in a journal a few things you’re grateful for. This will help you start your day thinking about the abundance you have in your life. Often, when we look at our life from a lens of what we lack, we fail to ever experience joy. Our focus is on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. If you’re grateful for the things you have, you’ll experience happiness effortlessly. Every single one of us, even the richest and most successful people can find something wrong with their life. Joy comes from spending your life appreciating all you have. So, in this moment, right now, what are you grateful for?

3. Block Negative Thoughts

Self compassion exercises need to start in the mind. It’s the one place we all hide in when we’re scared and when things go wrong. But of course, the mind isn’t actually a safe place. It’s the place that calls out all dangers. It’s the place where we judge ourselves harshly. It can be the cause of self sabotaging. The untrained mind can be one of the most toxic places you can ever visit. And so it’s important to train your brain to block out negative thoughts. When a negative thought enters your mind, you need to think to yourself, “Nope, next thought.” Otherwise, you’ll spend your whole life regretting the mistakes you made in the past that you’ll never be able to undo. So block out the negative thoughts if you’re looking to practice a few self compassion exercises. 

4. Take Mental Breaks

Woman taking a mental break to play with her dog

One of the self compassion exercises you’ll need to try is taking mental breaks. You know when your energy is feeling depleted. Maybe you’ve been having heavy conversations with a friend or family member. You’re trying to be supportive, but their constant negativity drains you. It’s okay to step away from the conversation to replenish your energy. You’re going to be okay if you take a quick break for yourself. Maybe you find reading a positive book helps you recharge. Or you have a fun social chat with another friend catching up about the good old days. Ultimately, whatever you need to do to take a mental break, do it. It could be as simple as asking for a personal day on a random Friday. But whatever you do to recharge will make a world of difference for your personal wellbeing. 

5. Say No

Compassionate people often say yes to everything. A coworker needs a lift to work, you wake up earlier to help them. Or a friend needs to chat about their struggles, you’re at their beck and call to be supportive. Maybe you’re the head of the household, which basically means you’re the slave picking up after everyone. It’s okay to take a few moments to direct your compassion to others to yourself. Say no every now and then. Saying no doesn’t mean being rude about it. It simply means that you let people know that you can’t do something. You can tell your coworker who needs a lift that you’ve been struggling with sleep lately and that it’s been hard getting out of bed in the morning. You can tell your friend that you’re trying to be supportive but the negativity is a lot for you to take on. Each day you should have some time for yourself where everyone but you hears no. 

6. Be Compassionate Towards Others

Woman holding out umbrella for child

Some people aren’t compassionate with themselves because they’ve never been compassionate before. One of the best self compassion exercises is to be compassionate with others. To do this, you might choose to lend a listening and supportive ear to a friend. And remember, that you’ll need to take some time to disconnect emotionally to care for yourself after. You can do acts of kindness for others. Each day take some time to do something nice for someone else. You might wish someone a happy birthday. Or you might congratulate someone on one of their accomplishments. By treating others well, you’ll start to learn how to direct some of that compassion inwardly. The nice things you do for others will end up giving you positive energy. You’ll also have way less drama to deal with. 

7. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Self compassion exercises can be physical too! Exercise can be a great way to show yourself how much you care about your wellbeing. Whether you’re dancing to shake out all that negative energy or lifting weights to strengthen your body, by taking care of your body you’re showing yourself compassion. Our body is the home we spend our whole lives living in. Over the years, we’ll see our body change. It’s essential that we protect and care for our bodies so we can live long and healthy lives. It’s so common that when we feel stressed, we take it out on our bodies. We’ll over or undereat or over or under exercise. But we need to treat our homes well because it’s the only body we’ve ever been given. 

8. Treat Yourself As a Friend

Woman laying in field smiling

One of the self compassion exercises to try out is to treat yourself as a friend. Not gonna lie, sometimes when I write blog posts for other people, I’m secretly writing them to my future self knowing that I’ll need to read my own advice one day to help me through. There are likely times when you’ve shown a friend who’s struggling compassion. But it’s likely a level of compassion that you don’t show yourself. Why do we treat others like gold and ourselves like garbage? Why do we have such little self-worth? How can we stop those pesky voices in our head telling us that we’re not important and that we don’t matter? Do something kind for yourself today. Maybe that’s a ten minute meditation, unwinding with a relaxing, positive book, or slowly working through negative thoughts to turn them into positive thoughts instead. 

9. Write it Out and Burn It

There’s so much hate we hold inside ourselves. Sometimes we carry guilt from mistakes we’ve made twenty years ago as if we were still that person. But no, you’re not that person anymore. Sometimes, we carry trauma for decades of our lives letting is slowly undo all of the goodness in us. And there’s always those things that we secretly scream about when no one is around to see it. There’s so much emotion trying to escape us. Well, you know what, you’ve got to let that stuff out. Sharing all your pain with another person won’t solve it. But you can write it all out on a piece of paper, and burn it with a candle in your home. That way you free the hate buried inside of you for good. This is the kind of self compassion exercise you’ll need to try if something has been bugging you for months or even years of your life. 

10. Focus On What You Want

Woman focusing while reading a book

If you’ve stumbled on this article, you’re likely unhappy with your life right now and need a few self compassion exercises. Maybe things are okay but you don’t feel that they’re great. Instead of focusing on this moment, visualize the person you hope to become. Imagine how great life can be. What modifications do you need to make in your life to become the person you want to be or to live the life you want to live. This isn’t about wanting what you can’t have though or being envious with what you lack. Instead, this is about creating the 2.0 version of yourself that you need to become. This self compassion exercise is about focusing on the life you have control over: your own. If each person on the planet focused on improving themselves instead of trying to improve other people, we would make so much progress. You can’t control the actions of another person, but you can control your own. Take steps to become the person you want to be. It mostly starts with a positive mindset and a little bit of education. Can you do a kind act for another person and for yourself each day for the rest of your life? Something like that can really compound to help you live a happier life. 

11. Acknowledge the Suffering

A self compassion exercise needs to start with the acknowledgement of suffering. How often do we go around pretending that everything is fine when we’re dying on the inside? How many times have we been screaming for help in our minds only to tell others that we’re doing fine? Think of all the times you’ve bitten your tongue to avoid putting your stress on another person. That’s some heavy stuff you’re dealing with. Can you take a moment to admit that to yourself? Can you take a moment to look at how much you’re handling right now? Can you honestly see how crazy it is for you or others to expect you to be doing well when you’ve got so much of life’s horse crap on your plate? Now, show yourself some compassion. You know why you acted weird. You know why you took out your frustrations on someone else. You’ve got the full context for your life that no one else has. Give yourself a quick hug and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can with the knowledge you’ve got. 

12. Seek Help

Woman laying her head on the shoulder of a supportive friend

One of the self compassion exercises when things start to get bad is to ask for help. You might have already done this only to get rejected. Maybe someone thinks it’s all in your head or you’re wrong. Maybe deep down you know what happened but you don’t have the right support system. In these cases, you need to keep asking for help until you find a person who believes you. You can’t get help if you don’t have the right support system. And sometimes building the right support system is the hardest part. But you can’t give up. You can’t spend your life hanging out with people who fail to give you the support you need when you need it most. 

13. Minimize Negative Self-Talk

Practicing a self compassion exercise starts in your head. How you view the world, your problems, and yourself can play the biggest role in your mental health. Your brain can throw all sorts of wacky and weird thoughts in your head. But you can counter those thoughts at any time. When a negative thought enters your mind, what steps are you taking to say ‘nope, I disagree, I’m actually [fill in the blank]. If you’re not doing that at all, that’s where you should focus your energy right now. If you can counter or minimize negative self-talk by as little as ten percent, imagine how much you can eliminate a year or two from now. It’s about a bit of progress each day to help you build up to being a better and happier you. 

Conclusion

The self compassion exercises on this list are simply a starting point for you to show more compassion to yourself. If you find you haven’t been compassionate with yourself, you might find yourself doing multiple exercises for self compassion from this list to help strengthen yourself. You deserve to be loved, celebrated, appreciated, and respected. But before someone else shows that to you, you need to show it to yourself. By being compassionate to yourself you set the tone for how others will treat you. So tell me, which of these self compassion exercises will you be trying first? Comment below!

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