This is #14 in a series of Tips for Caregivers — Near and Far posted on my website: DrMaraKarpel.com.
Earlier this year, on my radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, I discussed the topic of compassion by health care providers and how it can have an equally powerful healing effect as medicine and, in some cases, even more powerful effect.
Equally important for the health and wellbeing of caregivers is that caregivers have compassion for ourselves. Being a caregiver can be extremely stressful and, in fact, caregivers have been found to have a statistically higher rate of chronic illnesses, severe emotional issues (such as depression and anxiety), and even earlier death. Self-compassion has also been found to build resilience for our health and our emotional well-being. Having such resilience is important for our ability to continue to do our best as a caregiver, as well as in our own lives. In previous Tips, I’ve written about the importance of taking care of our health through exercise, eating right, self-forgiveness, etc. These are all part of self-compassion, but are not the complete picture.
According to the research conducted by Neff and Dahm at the University of Texas, self-compassion consists of:
- Self-kindness: “Our inner dialogues [about ourselves] are gentle and encouraging rather than harsh and belittling.”
- Common humanity: We know “that everyone fails, makes mistakes, and gets it wrong sometimes” [even us…and that’s OK].
- Mindfulness: We have“mindful awareness of our negative thoughts and emotions so that they are approached with balance and equanimity….[Then] we can recognize that our thoughts and feelings are just that — thoughts and feelings — helping us to drop our unquestioning belief in the storyline of our inadequate, worthless selves.”
Check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age, now available in paperback and on e-book!
Living the Passionate Life- Online Course will be launching in late January 2019!