“Be nice to yourself… It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.”
― Christine Arylo
What is self-compassion and how can it help you to better manage your diabetes self-care?
Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same kindness and support that you would provide for a friend. A recent research study conducted with people with diabetes demonstrated that self-compassion was significantly and positively correlated with higher well-being, lower A1C, and higher engagement with all self-management behaviors. Self-compassion is closely associated with emotional resilience, including the ability to sooth ourselves, recognize our mistakes, learn from them, and motivate ourselves to succeed. Self-compassion is also correlated with reduced levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and shame.
Anyone can learn how to be self-compassionate. Begin by acknowledging how you feel. For example, recognizing that you might feel angry (“I hate my diet restrictions and I’m not losing any weight”); victimized (“I know other people who don’t exercise, and they don’t have diabetes”); or doubt (“My blood sugar levels are always too high. Maybe I am a ‘bad’ diabetic?”). Next, acknowledge that others would probably have similar feelings in the same situation. You are not alone. Finally, express kindness to yourself. What would you say to a friend in your shoes? Perhaps you would say: “It can feel very unfair when you try hard to follow a diet program and you don’t see results right away.” Once you shift your frame of mind from a threat state to self-compassion, you are likely to find yourself calmer. Maybe you can review your menu plan and realize that you have included healthy food choices, but the quantities are too much?
5 Simple Strategies to Soothe Yourself
- How would you treat a friend? Respond to yourself in the same way you would respond to a close friend when he or she is suffering.
- Explore self-compassion through writing. Write a letter to yourself about your feelings (such as shame, insecurity, etc.) from a place of acceptance and compassion.
- Write a self-compassion journal. Keep a daily journal in which you process your difficult issues through a perspective of self-compassion. This activity will help make self-kindness and mindfulness a part of your daily life.
- Change you critical self-talk. Acknowledge your self-critical voice and reframe your observations in a more friendly way. Challenge your negative assumptions about yourself and instead use kinder and gentler self-talk.
- Taking care of the caregiver. Keep your heart open and help you care for and nurture yourself at the same time that you are caring for and nurturing others.
Self-compassion is about how you motivate yourself; instead of doing it with blame and self-criticism, self-compassion motivates like a good coach, with encouragement, kindness, and support. It’s an example of the Golden Rule in reverse: Learning to treat yourself as you would treat others in need – with kindness, warmth, and respect.
Let’s remember the original and real Diabetes Hero!
Sir Frederick G. Banting, Primary Discoverer of Insulin
If you have diabetes, November 23, 2017 will be Thanksgiving…. And November 14th will be ‘Thanks Given’!
Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE aka “Dr. Bev”, is a clinical psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator with a private practice in Baldwin, NY. She was honored in 2016 with the “Certified Diabetes Educator Entrepreneur of the Year Award.”
She is the author/editor of two diabetes self-help books which include insightful lessons of empowerment written by successful men and women with diabetes. She has published articles in print and online about diabetes management – always with the focus on emotional adjustment. Dr. Bev has been quoted in numerous magazines and contributed to a monthly diabetes advice column online. She is a frequent contributor to the Divabetic Diabetes Daily Wire, where she blogs about diabetes topics from the psychological perspective.
Dr. Bev has lived successfully with type 1 diabetes for 42 years. You can connect with her on her website www.AskDrBev.com and on Twitter @AskDrBev.
Dr. Beverly S. Adler PhD, CDE talks about ‘self-compassion and diabetes’ on our blockbuster Diabetes Late Nite podcast with music from Whitney Houston on World Diabetes Day on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 6 -7:30 PM, EST.
Enjoy an exclusive first listen of “Whitney Houston – I Wish You Love: More From ‘The Bodyguard’”ahead of the album’s release date courtesy of SONY Music on November’s Diabetes Late Nite. This 25th anniversary of “The Bodyguard” soundtrack album features the hit song, “I’m Every Woman” echoing the recent statistics that 1 in 10 women are now living with diabetes.
Throughout the podcast we will be talking to experts about ways to safeguard you and your family from experiencing diabetes health-related complications such as stroke, blindness and amputation.
November’s Diabetes Late Nite guests include Dr. Beverly S. Adler PhD, CDE, Constance Brown Riggs MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN, Poet Lorraine Brooks, the Charlie’s Angels of Outreach featuring Patricia Addie Gentle RN, CDE, Mindy Bartleson, T1D, blogger at “There’s More to the Story”, and author, and America’s #1 Energy Conductor, Kathie Dolgin aka ‘High Voltage’.