The soothing S.N.A.P. method can help you meet whatever challenges the New Year brings with mindful self-compassion
According to one recent poll, more than half of people surveyed say one of their New Years resolutions will be to take more vacation time in 2022 than they did in 2021. That’s a wonderful idea to recharge, refresh and get more happiness and joy out of life.
There’s something else we can do to help us be more resilient in 2022 — even when the crap hits the fan. I’m talking about practicing mindfulness and mindful self-compassion.
Research shows that practicing mindfulness in everyday life can help us feel less distracted, reduce anxiety, improve memory and concentration and better manage crises like dealing with the pandemic. Mindful self-compassion can even give us a leg up when it comes to keeping New Year’s resolutions!
Studies show that people that are compassionate toward themselves are more likely to try again when they fail to achieve a goal. They don’t see failure as a blow to their self-concept. They recognize that everyone fails, and see failure is a growth opportunity.
Want to be more mindful and compassionate with yourself? Try the S.N.A.P. method:
S: Soothing Touch — When you feel stress, where does it show up in your body? Place your hands over that area. It might be your chest, belly, hugging your upper arms, or cradling your face. Try different locations and see which feels most soothing. This supportive touch will allow oxytocin and endorphins to help calm your nervous system.
N: Name the Emotion — Name what you are feeling in the moment. Is it worry? Sadness? Anger? Loneliness? Naming what you feel helps calm the stress response, and gives you time to locate it in your body and soften around it.
A: Act — It’s time to use a tool to help yourself feel better. Asking the ultimate Mindful Self-Compassion question — “What do I need right now?” — is the best place to start. Then do what can reasonably be done with what you’ve got in the moment.
P: Praise — Thank yourself for showing up day after day, trying to do your best. Thank the universe, or your spirit of choice, for giving you the strength and courage to keep on keeping on. And thank your practice for helping you manage stress.
You can practice S.N.A.P. for self-compassion in any situation, including:
While driving: Control your breathing by making your exhale longer than your inhale to lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate.
When family or relationship drama erupts: Drop your attention to the soles of your feet as you control your breathing to slow the whole show down. Stay focused on your body and your breathing. Breathe in compassion for yourself, and breathe out compassion for the person who is inciting the drama, remembering that it's a sign they are hurting too.
At work: Give yourself a few minutes for quiet reflection by closing your door, if you have one, or going for short walk. Ground yourself by touching a polished stone that you keep in your pocket or on your desk, or through the soles of your feet. Take a break at the water cooler and exhale longer than you inhale for a few rounds of mindful breathing.
For those New Year’s resolutions, S.N.A.P. can help you pick yourself up, rather than beat yourself up, if at first you don’t succeed. Remember, you are perfectly imperfect, like most of your fellow human beings who also set intentions that they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep. Perhaps you will want to try a more attainable goal, break your goal into baby steps, or give yourself more time to attain your goal. Whatever course you choose, you will be more resilient, and more likely to keep trying, when you are kind to yourself.
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