In the book, Stress, Anxiety and the Battle for Your Sanity I emphasise one Mindfulness Attitude for Change as primary. Being gentle on yourself is more than words. It is an attitude you can feel. It is a gateway to healthier Mindfulness, and links into (in my opinion the starting-point for) acceptance, compassion and self-love. Being gentle opens the door to healing and insights. Without it, people can get trapped in a quagmire created by a mind dealing with the stress chemicals in their brain*. Once this happens, you can easily find yourself feeling anxious, fearful or depressed.
* As described in the book.
How do you do, being gentle?
Think for a moment about a friend in a crisis. You want to say soothing words of encouragement that acknowledges how they feel, and generally have a supportive attitude. It is the same gentleness, but toward your pain, negativity and worries.
I dislike the meme of “You can always choose your thoughts” because when someone has chronic stress & anxiety, it’s hard for the mind to sustain positive thoughts. (I offer the Melt Stress in Minutes protocol – a super-fast method to reduce the overload – chiefly because of this stress-induced problem of non-helpful thinking.)
There is one way to get into this which is not choosing thoughts. When a friend is feeling bad, one of the things I do to support them is to have an attitude and energetic environment where rest, or time-out, is available.
You can do the same for you! No need for any words. Decide to relax. Relax about the situation for a moment. Relax away from the negative thinking for a moment, and relax into a gentle, supportive manner. Relaxing can be the first step toward an attitude of gentleness.
Being gentle can start with a decision to relax – which is more accessible than determining how you must think. Then choose to be gentle (as if with a friend). This immediately starts the process of creating a better environment in your brain and body.
The book mentioned is the first in the series, Mindfulness: Stop the Struggle. They are Kindle books, but you get access to additional resources, including a PDF and epub (better for mobiles and small tablets if you don’t want Kindle versions of the book. They are under £2 on Amazon, and the Royalties (author’s pay) goes to a local charity in N/E, UK.