Mindfulness and compassion in life can be two of the most powerful tools benefiting our physical and mental health. Our brains run on a default pattern where we are critical of ourselves and our surroundings. It’s part of what keeps us safe, protected and on guard as human beings, but it’s really exhausting at times to live in that constant state of being critical of what or who is around us.

Recent research into the neurosciences has focused on what’s clinically helpful for people in terms of our mental health and wellness. Combining mindfulness and being compassionate with yourself seems to be the most powerful fit in that research.

Below are five tips for living with mindfulness and compassion. (These are a compilation and summary of several sources).

1. Accept Imperfection

Our bodies and our families are perfectly imperfect. The sense that things are supposed to be perfect is harmful, in a way. Things won’t be perfect. For example, social media presents things in an overly filtered, overly colorful, overly perfect way. Accepting the imperfection of yourself and your family will help you move through life more centered and peaceful about the way things are.

2. Don’t Lose Sight of What Counts

This is incredibly personal to you. What really matters to you? What really counts? Don’t lose sight of it. Is it spending time with those close to you or being grateful for your safety and health? Keep what matters to you in focus on a day-to-day basis.

3. Focus on Social Connectedness

Connect with a stranger over a store’s line being long or talk with someone about what you found interesting that day. Make eye contact and make a connection. It’s incredibly helpful for your health.

4. Respond with Kindness

In some ways this is an overused analogy, but when you bump into someone who is not so kind, there is usually a reason for their behavior. There is probably some kind of suffering causing that negative interaction. Trying to respond with kindness often diffuses a situation.

5. Rethink Your Resolutions

Create resolutions and goals that are achievable and realistic. Don’t set yourself up only to be disappointed. Celebrate what you have accomplished, rather than constantly focusing on what you haven’t.

Combining Mindfulness and Compassion

Living with mindfulness means living with awareness of your present moment and surroundings. Living with compassion means being sensitive of physical, mental and emotional aspects in the lives of others. Showing care for the wellbeing of yourself and others while staying present in the moment is a magical recipe for living a healthier, happier life. Try it out. Live with both mindfulness and compassion. You might just change your life and see the world around you in a whole new way.

Do you or someone you know need help with mental health? Contact us at Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program today to find support.

About the Author:

Dr. Matthew Ruble is the Chief Medical Officer of Discovery Behavioral Health, the parent company of Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program. He has a deep passion for advancing the behavioral health industry through training, publication, innovation, payer relations and collaboration. His expertise spans consistent delivery of innovative and value-based, industry-leading and integrated behavioral health programs and services. He spent 20 years of his career working with the Cambridge Health Alliance, a health system affiliated with Harvard Medical School, responsible for training clinicians, residents and medical staff in core evidence-based practices. Dr. Ruble attended the Carver School of Medicine at the University of Iowa and Harvard Medical School in Boston to intern at the Department of Medicine, becoming a resident at the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Ruble became Chief Resident of the Psychopharmacology at Cambridge Health Alliance as well as a physician educator at the Academy at Harvard Medical School.

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