• lynneeveratt

The only resolution you'll ever need

One of the most memorable moments from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent interview with mental health advocate John Kirwan was her confession that she struggles with a harsh inner critic. Ardern compared her critic to a shark, and admitted that she needs her friends to help give her some perspective when she finds herself in shark-infested mental states. “So many of us are our own worst enemies,” says Ardern, adding, “We teach our children kindness to everyone around them, but we don’t always talk about showing the same kindness to themselves.” Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn how to treat yourself with kindness, turn your inner sharks into guppies, and become your own best friend. Self-compassion is in many ways the ultimate New Year’s resolution: it helps you to see more clearly who you really are and what you truly need to change to make your life better, and it gives you the motivation you need to build healthy habits. Therefore, the theme of the first 5-Minute Recharge of 2021 is self-compassion, the habit of self-acceptance that you need to establish before you try to change yourself. ONE QUOTE A year ago, if you told me that my favorite restaurants, half my friends and my CrossFit gym would be taken from me, I would have freaked out. But not only do I not miss them, I think I may be happier without them.” – Andrew (one of 1,273 best life lessons from 2020 that Mark Manson summarizes into ten practical takeaways.) ONE SELF-COMPASSIONATE CHALLENGE

Over the course of Ten Percent Happier's 21-day New Year's challenge that kicks off Monday January 4th, expert teachers will guide you through a series of meditations that demonstrate the benefits of developing self-love, compassion, and acceptance, and show you how to do it. Please join me and sign up for this valuable (yet FREE!) course in self-compassion. THREE IDEAS #1 The power of self-compassion: a frightful case study. Dr. Chris Germer is a clinical psychologist, lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and leading expert (along with his colleague, Dr. Kristin Neff) in self-compassion. For many years Chris had a terror of public speaking—an embarrassing problem for a psychologist!—that he finally conquered through the practice of self-compassion. Germer learned three things from the experience of cultivating a kinder attitude toward himself. One, self-compassion doesn't turn into selfishness, but quickly becomes kindness for others. Feeling a warm sense of kinship with your audience is the ultimate cure for a stage-frightened mind. Two, Germer discovered that his fear of public speaking was not an anxiety disorder: it was a shame disorder that responded well to kindness. Three, whereas mindfulness is loving awareness of moment-to-moment experience, self-compassion is loving awareness of the person having the experience. Directing kindness toward yourself can provide you with a deep reservoir of inner comfort that can help you handle even the most uncomfortable experiences. “We need to hold ourselves as trembling, broken, or imperfect people in a way that gives us the capacity to hold our experience.” ~ Chris Germer #2. No, self-compassion doesn't make you “sloppy.” You may think that if you're kind to yourself you will lose your edge and become “sloppy” or careless. Research suggests that the opposite is true: self-compassion will enable you to live in a way that is closer to your core values, will give you the energy and motivation to achieve your goals, and will encourage you to set goals that are just ask high as people with the inner voice of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from the movie Full Metal Jacket. If your inner voice is more drill sergeant than cheery coach Ted Lasso, one thing you can do right now to lessen its painful effects is to get playful. Make fun of your inner critic. Give it a name and make it cartoonish. Chris Germer imagines his inner critic to have a voice like the Muppet the Swedish Chef. Whatever you do, don’t try to argue with your inner critic... “When we direct a lot of hostile energy toward the inner critic we enter into a losing battle.” ~ Sharon Salzberg #3 Two simple approaches to self-compassion. Before you can practice self-compassion, you need to notice that you’re having a hard time. This basic level of self-awareness is neither as common nor as simple as it sounds, and is best cultivated through meditation. So often we push through difficulties without paying attention to our inner experience. Given that you're tuned into yourself and have noticed that you need help, ask yourself these two questions: 1. What do I need to comfort/motivate/protect/validate myself? 2. How would I treat a really good friend right now—what would I say or do and what would my attitude be? “Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself.” ~ Nathaniel Branden *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. Wisdom for 2021 - Oliver Burkeman (Oliver shares nine of his most wise/useful/perspective-shifting snippets.) 2. New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Lead to Happiness - Arthur Brooks, The Atlantic (You really only need two resolutions to increase your happiness, neither of which involve self-denial.) 3. Can 4 Seconds of Exercise make a Difference? - Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times (New research suggests you can microdose exercise. Yay!) 4. How to cleanse your home of negative emotions Ingrid Fetell Lee, The Aesthetics of Joy (Sweep out the guilt, shame, regret, anxiety, overwhelm, and “stuckness” that may be clinging to some of your possessions.) 5. Five Ways to Reduce Seasonal Depression - Mind Pump Media podcast (33 minutes) (Don't hit the snooze button!) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR 2021 STORY Bet you thought this week’s challenge would be to create a list of self-compassionate treats or a self-soothing ritual that you design yourself. You can find a wealth of self-compassionate resources here, but for now let’s shift gears and put the focus on 2021. Your 5-Minute Recharge challenge is to do an exercise that psychologist and Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal gives her clients when they only have five minutes to think about the New Year. Imagine yourself at the end of 2021. Think about what you'll be most grateful to yourself for having changed, committed to or participated in. What will you be most likely to celebrate? Now take a few minutes to write down the story that you'll be proud to tell about 2021. “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” ~ Ira Glass Wishing you health, happiness, and a great story to tell about 2021, Lynne Everatt, The 5-Minute Recharge

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