Good management of stress presupposes that we are at the forefront. We can reduce stress by actively practising self-compassion, writes Johanne Teigar Jacobsen.

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This is what tells in an article about the importance of to have compassion for oneself, also called self-compassion. Jacobsen who is a psychologist writes further.

Most of us want less stress in our lives. The best we can hope for, however, is an occasional break. Because there will probably always be a lot to do. There will not be enough time. And the vast majority bring with them an inner critic who creates unrest.

An important point is therefore that we need to practice dealing with stress by being ahead. - When the storms are at their worst, it is too late to learn new strategies, the psychologist believes. 

In the article, she describes what stress is.


To treat oneself like a good friend

Jacobsen also talks about how working with self-compassion can be such a stress management technique that we can practice. She tells:

Self-compassion is simply about treating oneself the way one would treat a good friend.

She outlines the following three components that are part of such self-compassion:


  1. Kindness: To have the same kindness, patience and warmth towards oneself as for others, rather than allowing the inner critic free rein when something goes wrong. 

  2. Common humanity: Recognizing that suffering and defeat are part of life, an existential basic condition, that affects everyone. Self-compassion is therefore something other than self-confidence, which is about comparing oneself with others and at the same time emphasizing what separates people from each other. Often, self-esteem is linked to a pursuit of being unique and better, rather than being part of a community.

  3. Mindfulness: Being attentively present with thoughts and feelings, from moment to moment, without taking a judgmental position.


Begin by observing your inner dialogue

She writes that it can be difficult to be more friendly towards oneself - but that it is important, and that it helps.

- So how can you become friendlier with yourself? Begin by observing the characteristics of your inner dialogue. Are you harsh and demeaning, or friendly? Try to register this over time, to become aware of how it affects you in everyday life.

- Eventually you can try to change the dialogue. Perhaps the sharpest comments can be nuanced?

In the article, she also gives more advice on how to reduce stress. She mentions in particular:

On his website (in Norwegian) Kristin Neff has presented several exercises that can help you practice your self-compassion. Take the time to consider whether any of the exercises may be right for you.