Self-Compassion as an ADHD Alternative Solution?
The Power of Self-Compassion and How to Use It
Think self-compassion is a lot of new-age hooey? Think again. I’ve seen the research, and it is powerful stuff. Self-compassion can mean a world of difference for your well-being and productivity. In this post I’ll show you a few quick ways to leverage it.
Indeed, an effective practice of self-compassion is not just feel-good pop-psychology; it’s a recipe to unleash productivity and happiness. A few quick facts:
- The simplest of self-compassion interventions have been shown to decrease the odds of depression and increase general happiness.
- Self-compassion training has been shown to help smokers quit, and to triple the success rate of obese dieters.
- It’s proven to do your productivity good, too. (More about that in a moment.)
So, behold the power of self-compassion. Hmmm…Why do we not know more about this simple concept — especially as a potential ADHD alternative solution? Two reasons…
Show yourself some love. Self-compassion has proven benefits for you and your ADHD brain!
First, few of us know what “self compassion” really means. Dr. Kristin Neff defines it as “extending compassion to the self for one’s failings, inadequacies and experiences of suffering.” And let’s be clear on what self-compassion is not…
It is NOT: Self-indulgence or letting yourself off the hook.
It is NOT: Self-pity. It is definitely not narcissism. Nor is it defending your point of view.
Second, we tend to be wary of self-compassion because we fear we’ll lose our edge; we equate self-compassion with weakness. Particularly in Western cultures, we’re raised to be a toughie, not a fluffy.
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal, one of the top authorities in this area, reminds us that being compassionate toward others is part of human nature — you see a friend or child mess up, and you give an encouraging word. And yet, she says, most of us find it difficult to turn this compassion toward ourselves!
“Compassion toward others is part of human nature — see a friend mess up…you give an encouraging word. Yet we find it difficult to turn this compassion toward ourselves.” – Kelly McGonigal TWEET THIS
So you should be more fluffy — at least toward yourself.
To build on some of the benefits noted above, according to McGonigal, those with more self-compassion are less likely to experience anxiety, self-criticism and unhealthy perfectionism. Those with more of it are more optimistic, more socially connected. They’re more open-minded and less prone to anger.
Not practical enough for you? Don’t get huffy, Fluffy: on the productivity front, self-compassion correlates with:
- Less procrastination
- The ability to re-engage after setbacks
- More proactivity and personal accountability.
- Reduced cortisol and increased release of oxytocin and opiates — putting us “in an optimal mind-state to do our best.”
…as McGonigal sums it up: “[These are] all things that help you achieve your goals.” How’s THAT for an ADHD alternative solution?!
Self-Compassion: How Can I Use It?
So how does one practice self-compassion to garner its veritable cornucopia of benefits? Here are three adjustments you can make to your thinking that’ll help set you on the path to more self-lovin’…
- Score your successes. As I wrote in a previous blog, we ADHDers tend to remember every single mess-up, and none of our successes. Take a minute right now and tally a few successes you had this past week. (Here’s mine: I buckled down and wrote this blog after putting it off for over a week; I went online and hired a freelance marketing consultant for a project — i.e., I DELEGATED! Woohoo!; I did my cardio yesterday even though I didn’t feel like it.)
- When you do screw up, be kind to yourself. It’s like the golden rule with a twist: treat yourself as you would treat others. Talk to yourself as if you were consoling a good friend — “Hey buddy, don’t sweat it. Let’s try again tomorrow.”
- Mindfulness. Bring awareness to the bad feelings and emotions arising from whatever you’re judging yourself about. Let yourself experience those feelings — don’t ignore them.
The more you can make these into habitual mindsets, the less you’ll burn time, energy and spirit on self-defeating BS. And the more you’ll be proactive and powerfully ready to crush whatever’s in your way.
So…Self-compassion has some impressive benefits, and there you have three great ways to start showing yourself some love.
Want to Learn 3 Simple Self-Compassion Interventions?
I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to The Power of Self-Compassion, and below is the preview of that episode, where I take those three mindset tweaks and build them out into “intervention exercises” that make them more powerful and help with habit-formation. Plus, I share how you can access a self-assessment to see just how self-compassionate you are (or aren’t).
What’s Crusher™TV? It’s not just a weekly online TV show that teaches ways to have more control in your life. It’s a LIBRARY of over 95 20-minute videos teaching ways to beat procrastination, get prioritized, get organized, manage your time, and more. You might get a lot out of watching the entire Episode 57, The Power of Self-Compassion, where I dig deeper into this topic. (To watch full episodes you can become a member for a buck and cancel any time you like, but either way, you can preview that episode by clicking the image below.
Episode Description: You think self-compassion is a bunch of “woo-woo” silliness? I’ve seen the research. It’s more like, “Holy cannoli, that’s POWERFUL STUFF!” It is – in terms of your well-being and your productivity. I’ll show you 3 Simple Self-Compassion “Interventions” you can leverage to improve your mood, energy and productivity. Also, my Guest Expert, ADHD coach DeShawn Wert, shares some great self-compassion hacks of her own.
Alan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.