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Feeling stuck? Try kindness instead of criticism.

A loving father of African descent sits on the couch at home and reads a storybook to his preschool age daughter. The child is sitting on her father's lap and is smiling while looking at the book.

Chances are, you’ve heard of the golden rule. “Treat others as you would want to be treated.” But how do you treat yourself? If you’re like many people, the truth may be that you’re a lot kinder to the people in your life than you are to yourself. Why?

One answer might be tough love. You want better for yourself, so you call yourself out when you screw up. The problem: Being hard on yourself isn’t a very good motivator.

More often, self-criticism actually fuels mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. Self-critics tend to have less confidence in their abilities and may be less likely to go for their goals thanks to fear of failure.

Instead, try to reframe self-criticism into self-compassion by responding to a struggle with the question, “What do I need?” That may get you closer to the root of a problem you can solve.

Some examples:

  • Struggling to stick with an exercise routine? Maybe what you really need is a routine that’s easier to fit into your life. Would a 30-minute walk or jog outdoors be easier to keep up than a trip to a gym?
  • Keep putting off scheduling check-ups for your kids (and yourself?) and then feeling guilty about it? Schedule 15 minutes on your calendar this week when you can make the call. For good measure, jot down the phone number as well.
  • Avoiding things you used to enjoy because you’re anxious about triggering a panic attack or trauma symptoms? What you really need may be treatment to relieve your symptoms and the anxiety that they bring.

Everyone faces challenges in life. And everyone messes up and falls short sometimes. But when you practice self-compassion by asking yourself, “What do I need?” rather than blaming yourself or giving up, you have the best chance of success.

If panic attacks or PTSD symptoms are getting in your way, Freespira is a treatment option that’s medication-free, on your schedule, and fully covered by your plan.

See if Freespira is right for you.

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