Do you ever catch yourself in the act of judging yourself much more harshly for your faults and failings than you ever do others? This self-destructive tendency is all too common in people dealing with mental health issues.
If that chimes with you, and you know you’re constantly way too tough on yourself, it’s time to learn your own worth and practice a little self-kindness. Here are some tools and apps that can help you develop self-compassion.
Self-Compassion Website Resources
1. Positive Psychology
The Positive Psychology website is a great place to start, with resources galore for therapists, teachers, and counselors. Although designed for welfare professionals, anyone can download the free Positive Psychology Self-Compassion Exercises Pack.
This 20-page guide includes three sets of exercises that will help you identify your strengths, look at your core values, and give self-compassion strategies to help you deal with that inner critical voice. It’s a great starting point if you want an expert-led guide to treating yourself more compassionately.
The Self-Compassion website is the work of Dr. Kristen Neff, a leading psychologist who has researched self-care extensively. On the website, you’ll find articles, links, and courses. Head to the Self-Compassion exercises where there are both guided practices as downloadable audio files and a series of self-guided exercises you can do independently.
3. CCI Health
Although an Australian government website seems an unlikely source, the Centre for Clinical Interventions has a series of information sheets and a terrific workbook called Building Self-Compassion. In this section, you’ll also find plenty of mental health guidance for looking after yourself and others.
4. Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness Exercises provides a series of free self-compassion exercises curated by international mindfulness trainer Sean Fargo. You can also get valuable help from the Mindfulness Exercises YouTube channel.
Apps for Self-Compassion
5. The Self-Compassion App
The Self-Compassion App was developed by two leading doctors in the field, Chris Irons and Elaine Beaumont, as a complete source of help with self-compassion for anyone who struggles with stress and anxiety.
The app offers more than 50 evidence-based ideas and exercises to work through, including breathing exercises, meditations, journaling tools, audio guides, and physical activities. Plenty of the content is free, or subscribe to unlock all the resources.
Download: The Self-Compassion App for iOS (Free, subscription available)
6. My Possible Self
Award-winning free app My Possible Self takes a holistic, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach to mental health. It helps you examine all the issues that might be causing you to criticize and doubt yourself.
The self-help toolkit includes mood trackers, motivational messages, audio exercises, and journaling tools. Head to the Self-Love section on the Explore tab for articles, podcasts, and affirmations. A red Crisis button is at the top of the page if you need instant professional help.
My Possible Self is trusted by healthcare providers such as the Priory and Great Britain’s NHS.
Download: My Possible Self for iOS | Android (Free)
7. Feeling Good: Mental Fitness
The Feeling Good app is another source of excellent audio tracks to help develop your mental resilience, with help for overcoming challenges such as sleep problems and quitting smoking.
The cornerstone of Feeling Good is its 12-track Positive Mental Training program that uses the same visualization skills employed by Olympic athletes to teach you how to relax, become calmer, and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.
Although the app is free, access to all the content is available via subscription or referral code. Your health provider may be able to provide a code, but check the Feeling Good website as well. At the time of writing, a free code was available here to everyone.
Download: Feeling Good: Mental Fitness for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
Using any of these apps or websites will soon reveal similar strategies to practice self-compassion. Affirmations, journaling, mindfulness, and exercise will all contribute towards improving your sense of self-worth. These apps will help.
8. Use Affirmations as a Self-Compassion Tool: Motivation App
Self-affirmations, short positive phrases, are brilliant for a little burst of positivity and self-love. You can use a range of powerful self-affirmation tools, but one of the most fully featured is Motivation, which provides plenty of beautiful images and phrases to boost you each day. Make sure you use the app’s lock screen widget to get a little reminder of your self-worth each time you pick up your phone.
Download: Motivation for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
9. Use Journaling as a Self-Compassion Tool: Worry Tree Anxiety Journal App
There are plenty of guided self-care journaling apps, but try the Worry Tree Anxiety Journal app to address your need for self-compassion.
This cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tool helps you catch and challenge negative thoughts. Instead, the app prompts you to examine any unhelpful thinking styles that might be underpinning your worries. You can even schedule “worry time” into your calendar, allowing you to get on with the rest of your day.
Download: Worry Tree Anxiety Journal for iOS | WorryTree: Anxiety Relief CBT for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
10. Use Mindfulness Apps to Help You Cultivate Self-Compassion
Mindful meditation is one of the most potent tools you can employ to help you manage your mind. Pausing each day to remember and celebrate the positives in your life can really help you manage your mindset. It then becomes easier to eliminate those unnecessary worries that you’re not enough.
You can use many great tools and resources to help make meditation easy. Apps such as the Insight Timer app, the meditation app Calm, or the personalized meditation approach of the Balance app can all help you learn to practice the discipline with their introductory programs. Rather than dwelling on your negative thoughts, use one of these meditation apps for a mindful moment on the go instead.
11. Use Exercise as a Self-Compassion Tool: Gentler Streak App
There’s nothing better for self-care than getting up and moving around. Be kind to yourself by doing whatever exercise you enjoy and makes you feel good. Those endorphins will help boost your mood and raise your self-esteem.
The compassionate Gentler Streak iOS app is ideal, as it celebrates even small wins in your fitness routine and allows you to build in rest days and active recovery periods. That way, you won’t feel bad if you have a day off from the routine.
Exercise is good for both mind and body, and you can also practice walking meditation with these apps.
Download: Gentler Streak for iOS (Free, subscription available)
Practice Self-Compassion for a Happier, Healthier Life
You won’t gain any real benefit from constantly talking yourself down. However, practicing self-compassion will lead you towards a happier, less stressed, more resilient way of living. These tools will help you find plenty of practical strategies to counter those negative inner voices.
Everyone makes mistakes and has bad days, and you must remember that you have that privilege, too!