Depression is an illness that inflicts many people. It can seem impossible to get out of such a lethargic and stuck place. And if you listen to what you are saying to yourself when you are depressed, you might be shocked to hear so much self-criticism and blame.
What is the antidote to the negative self-talk? Self-compassion, which is inherent in mindfulness practices.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., suggests a 4-Step Self-Compassion Practice that can decrease the mind’s negative rumination and increase the brain’s feel good chemistry. It’s called SAFE.
When you are feeling difficult feelings such as sadness, guilt, anger, fear, or shame, take some time out and find a place where you can do the following:
S – Soften into the feeling. Name the feeling, breathe and relax into it. Notice your body sensations associated with that feeling.
A – Allow it to be as it is. Don’t try to make it go away or try to change it. You want to be with it and breathe through it.
F – Feel into the emotion with kindness. You can ask questions such as, “What does this feeling believe?”, or “What does this feeling need?” If you hear that it needs love, then say “May I feel loved.” Or if it needs to feel safe, then say “May I feel safe.”
E – Expand your awareness to all people who feel this way. You are not alone with these feelings; they are part of being human. This step is to help you connect with humanity and spread goodness and compassion outwards. You could now say, “May we all feel love,” and “May we all feel safe.”
Many people like to place their hand on their heart or belly as they do this last step.
Give this a try and see if it helps you to feel better.
Until next time…….