5 Strategies for Getting Unstuck
The author of The Anxiety Toolkit
explains how we get caught in negative, fear-based ideas—and how to break free.
Illustration: Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images
4 of 5
Reducing self-criticism is a critical part of reducing rumination. People who are in a pattern of trying to use self-criticism as motivation often fear that reducing it will make them lazy. It won't. In fact, giving yourself a compassionate rather than critical message will often lead to working harder. For example, one study
showed that people who did a hard test and got a compassionate message afterward were willing to study longer for future similar tests, compared to a group of people who took the same test but didn't get a compassionate message.
To practice using self-compassion as an alternative to self-criticism, try the following three-minute writing exercise. Identify a mistake or weakness that you want to focus on and then write for three minutes using the following instructions: "Imagine that you are talking to yourself about this weakness (or mistake) from a compassionate and understanding perspective. What would you say?"