Dr Emily Pathe: Mental Health Awareness Week – Why Kindness Matters

22nd May 2020

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week Dr Emily Pathe, Highly Specialist Counselling Psychologist with Ypeople and NHS Lanarkshire, has been sharing thoughts on this years theme: “Kindness Matters”.

As the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is “Kindness Matters”, I wanted to talk with you all about compassion.

I’m sure that you would all immediately agree that the statement “Kindness Matters” is perhaps more important now than ever before. We see so many examples of how extending kindness in our communities is making a big difference, but let’s bring it closer to home.

How do you really treat yourself, particularly when you are struggling? Do you give yourself as much time, energy and kindness as you give others?

Do you acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing by allowing yourself to feel them, or do you struggle against them and beat yourself up for having them?

What sort of tone do you use when talking to yourself on a bad day? Do you have a loud inner critic? Often our inner critic can be a valuable source of information about what we really need.

Self-compassion means being sensitive to our own suffering and being motivated to support ourselves when we are struggling. To be self-compassionate is often challenging, as I outline in the video below.

A good place to start in times of difficulty, such as the current crisis, is to avoid having expectations of yourself and others which are too high. We may not always know what is happening in a colleague or friend’s life just now, what other stresses and challenges they are facing.

Speaking from personal experience I’ve found working in the area of homelessness has really emphasised for me our common humanity, that we humans are generally doing the very best we can given the specific set of circumstances we are facing and the resources available to us.

Being self-compassionate means allowing yourself to take a step back from a situation, remembering that was are all human, and with that we share flaws and sometimes struggle to communicate with each other about what’s really happening beneath the surface.

These tips have been based on the principles of Compassion Focused Therapy, developed by OBE Professor Paul Gilbert in 2009.

To find out more about Compassion Focused Therapy, check out the Compassionate Mind Foundation website, or try out some exercises used in the model found here.

Thank you once again to Dr Emily Pathe for taking the time to put together this thoughtful advice. Look out for more from us on the subject of mental health on our social media channels: facebooktwitter, and instagram.

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