Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research. She was the first to operationally define and measure the construct over a decade ago and is the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and her latest book Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power and Thrive.
Kristin’s approach to self-compassion is to focus on what she calls “the receptive dimension of compassion,” tender acceptance, as well as the more active Mama-Bear fierceness that women often develop as they step out into the world. She says that focusing on these dimensions of compassion is key to bringing the practices of mindfulness and compassion into our everyday lives.
She recommends focusing on these concepts in a few ways, including taking a break to meditate and practicing what is called affectionate breathing. These techniques can help us to more fully embrace our experience as it is, without judgment or trying to change anything about it.
Meditation is a great way to train your brain, especially with regard to self-compassion, as research shows that it can rewire the mind and help you to become more compassionate with yourself and others. To start with, find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate where you will not be interrupted for the duration of your meditation.
Choose a meditation posture that embodies wakefulness and erectness, such as seated on a chair or lying on your back (if you are not prone to easily falling asleep). Then simply bring your attention to the present moment with curiosity, kindness and tenderness.