Self-compassion involves becoming aware of the presence of suffering in our bodies

When chronic pain, numbness or joint stiffness are bothering you, how easy is it to be self-compassionate?

For many people not moving well can lead to feelings of anxiety, frustration, sadness and fear. These emotions are important to pay attention to in order to soothe them as part of the healing process.

Kristen Neff’s book and research on Self-Compassion demonstrates that self-compassionate thoughts change brain chemistry. Self-kindness increases oxytocin an important restorative neurotransmitter in our body.

Neuroscience research is demonstrating that pain is more like an emotion. It can be both life saving and life altering when it does not stop. Learning how to move in ways that feel safe and energizing is useful when turning around chronic pain patterns.

Movement exercises that are done in a self-compassionate way, can improve the quality of your movements. This is called stacking an exercise in functional neurology treatment practices. It can be better described as getting the body and the mind to talk to each other so they work together.

Self Compassion Movement Sequence:

Try this self-compassion mind body movement sequence. This is can be practiced before bed or in the morning. Not to worry about overdoing, no one overdoses on self-kindness practices.

1. Write down a compassionate statement you would say to a loved one who is feeling in pain and afraid.

2. Find a soft sock and put it on your hand.

3. With the sock on your hand, make very light gentle circles over the sensitive area. If the area is hypersensitive, circle the perimeter of the area.

Here is an example. Someone who has arthritis in his or her wrist that flares up may feel sensitivity up to his or her elbow. Any touch in this area increases pain; including touching the left arm. Instead of doing the exercise on the arm try it on the shoulder, neck or face. Your nervous system will respond.

As you are making the circles, repeat your compassionate statement. Sighing, feeling sounds come up or tears sometimes surface when doing this practice. They are healing and a sign your body is responding. Look for signs or more energy or relaxation. This will help you know if this is a good exercise for your body. In functional neurology exercise training, this is called high payoff drills. Things you can easily do to help yourself feel better.

Choosing a self-compassionate focus when healing movement problems in your body reduces anxiety and builds resilience. It also opens the door for creative solutions and opportunity.

Wishing You Health, Happiness and Success,