Soothing breathing

I have encountered soothing breathing exercises as part on my one-to-one counselling and when reading self-help Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) books.  It’s not something that I persisted with though.  Developing a soothing breathing technique or form of imagery that helps us to feel calm, soothed and steady has been the main practical exercise for the first 5 weeks of my group therapy.  This soothing practice came alongside getting to grips with the theory and principles of CFT.

Now that we are getting into applying the theory to understanding our own experiences and fears I think I understand the importance of learning soothing rhythm breathing first.  Thinking about the lack of compassion I have for myself, how critical I am of myself and how I came to be this was raises a lot of sadness, and some fears to the surface.  Being able to calm myself is really helpful in being able to do think about and discuss these thoughts and feelings, without feeling overwhelmed or crushed by them.

I’ve practised soothing breathing rhythm on most days since we were introduced to it in the first week.  I’ve also experimented with scent, imagery and holding an object.  I’ve discovered I like the scent of lavender because I associate it with relaxation and it encourages me to inhale deeply.  I also like to hold a pebble in my hand.  The shape and texture gives me something to focus my attention on if I’m having a hard time settling down.  After practising for several weeks I have noticed I find it easier to calm myself and soothe the effects of anxiety or stress in my mind and body and to get a little relief.  I used soothing rhythm breathing during an extremely stressful event last week and coped much better than usual.

Practising… Self-Compassion 4

Week 4: Compassion vs. Criticism

I believe that having self-compassion is essential if I’m going to live a meaningful life with chronic illness.  Unfortunately I’m not very good at it.  I think self-compassion is so important because it’s an attitude that encourages us to take good care of ourselves, to recognise how difficult life with a chronic condition can be, to be accepting of our limitations and appreciative of our efforts. 

For some of us (including myself) self-compassion isn’t something we developed as we grew up.  Instead we have an extremely vocal and opinionated inner critic.  This critical voice is always pointing out our failings, worrying about our weaknesses and generally making life even harder than it needs to be.  Continue reading Practising… Self-Compassion 4

Practising… Self-Compassion 1-3

I believe that having self-compassion is essential if I’m going to live a meaningful life with chronic illness.  Unfortunately I’m not very good at it.  I think self-compassion is so important because it’s an attitude that encourages us to take good care of ourselves, to recognise how difficult life with a chronic condition can be, to be accepting of our limitations and appreciative of our efforts. 

For some of us (including myself) self-compassion isn’t something we developed as we grew up.  Instead we have an extremely vocal and opinionated inner critic.  This critical voice is always pointing out our failings, worrying about our weaknesses and generally making life even harder than it needs to be.  Continue reading Practising… Self-Compassion 1-3