Exercises/Activities

Self-Compassion Exercises:

  • List in your journal areas of your life where you could use some self-compassion.

  • List in your journal some benefits that you are hoping to achieve by being more compassionate to yourself.

  • Do any of these common negative core beliefs resonate with you? Create a list of your personal negative core beliefs in your journal, you can use those listed above, and add to them with any others that pertain to you.

  • List in your journal your preferred way to practice self-compassion (comforting, soothing, validating, protecting, providing and motivating)? 

Self-Compassion Activity: 

Think of an aspect of yourself that makes you feel "not good enough." It could be something related to your personality, behavior, abilities, relationships, or any other part of your life. You may want to use one of the negative core beliefs you wrote in your journal. Apply the three components of self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness.)

Mindfulness: Allow yourself to feel the uncomfortableness of the emotional suffering created by these thoughts.

Common humanity: Remind yourself that everyone has things about themselves that they don't like, and that no one is without flaws. 

Self-kindness: Imagine what someone who loves you and accepts you unconditionally for who you are would say to you about this part of yourself.

Write a letter to yourself expressing compassion for yourself using the three components of self-compassion. You may find it helpful to write the letter from the perspective of a dear friend. Imagine that someone you love has expressed these feelings to you and you are speaking to them. In other words, be your own dear friend! 

 

Self-Forgiveness Exercises:

  • List in your journal any actions you have taken for which you cannot forgive yourself that have caused you to feel shame and/or disgust. Be specific.

  • List in your journal actions you have not taken for which you cannot forgive yourself that have caused you to have feelings of regret and/or unworthiness. Be specific.

  • Journal about your experience of this life examination. This exercise helps cultivate self-compassion and provides the opportunity to visualize a better “future self.”

Self-Forgiveness Activity: 

Take time to imagine your life in the future. Consider all relevant areas of your life, such as your career, academic work, relationships, hobbies and health. How would these areas be impacted if you were your best possible self? This exercise is most useful if you are very specific. The more specific you are, the more you'll get out of the exercise. Be creative and imaginative and don't allow yourself to be tempted to think about barriers to being able to make these accomplishments happen. 

Write continuously about what you imagine this best possible future to be and how you will feel when you are navigating life as your best possible self.

 

Self-Love Exercises:

Self-appreciation:

  • Take the VIA Assessment now and write your top five strengths in your journal.

  • Create a list of your accomplishments and note which of your strengths enabled you to succeed.

  • List some opportunities to use your top strengths in new and interesting ways throughout the day.

  • Take time to visualize your "ideal self" using your strengths to accomplish your personal goals. 
     

Self-acceptance:

  • List in your journal some of your common self-critical thoughts.

  • How do you feel when you think these thoughts about yourself?

  • Try using the Silly Voices and Musical Thoughts techniques. How did they work?

Self-Love Activities: 

A-Z Positive Traits

Download the A-Z positive traits worksheet and fill in at least three positive traits for each letter of the alphabet. If you have trouble coming up with three, ask a friend or a family member who knows and loves you to help.

Mirror Work

This activity is taken from the work of Louise Hayes. Stand in front of a mirror (or hold up a hand held mirror) and look into your own eyes (don't be tempted to look at or judge any aspects of your face or body), imagine that you are looking into your soul. Say the words "I love you" aloud to yourself. This may be challenging at first, but with practice it will become easier, and more believable. Do this every day for at least 21 days and over time it will help to increase your self-love.

Final Activity

Create a Missing Peace Supply Kit

Everything in this program is designed to give you strength from within. Sometimes, because of life’s challenges, disappointments and setbacks, you can have trouble connecting with and feeling fulfillment and peace with your inner self. It happens to all of us. There are times when you find yourself drowning as the surf of life kicks up around you. To prepare and to make sure you keep your head above water, we invite you to create your own life preserver to remind yourself of your worth, strength and beauty. 

This will be a project unique to you! Your Missing Peace Supply Kit will look different from someone else’s and that’s what makes it so powerful. It will be a tool you can refer to again and again, whenever you need it. 

 

To begin, find yourself a container that is meaningful to you. This can be a pretty box that you decorate or a container you already have with a design you like. 

 

In the container that you identify, put in these elements:

  • The exercises you did in this program (your journal, worksheets and letters)

  • Put in a symbol that reminds you of a time when you were very strong (a medal, a photograph, a letter of recommendation)

  • Find a picture of yourself as a young child so you can remember your own purity, innocence and potential

  • Find something that soothes you, comforts you and makes you feel fulfilled

  • Identify a symbol of a goal that you are working toward and put that in the supply kit as a symbol of confidence

  • Focus on something you love about yourself and find a symbol of that. 

 

Fill your supply kit with things that will remind you of self-compassion, self-forgiveness and self-love. 

When you are feeling weak or defeated or unloving toward yourself, reach for your supply kit to remind you that you know how to fill the spaces inside yourself with good things, with love and kindness and forgiveness. 

 

This supply kit is something you can make as large or small as you like. It’s something you can keep with you and update from time to time. Let it be a comfort to you and an affirmation of the wonderful person that you are!

Click here to download the workbook containing the exercises and activities for the Filling in the Missing Peace program.