Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

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Tue, Mar 12 8:00am

Practicing self-kindness: Part 1

By Andrea Cuc, LCSW, @AndreaCuc

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Random acts of kindness

Have you ever engaged in a random act of kindness? We hear those delightful stories all the time--the kind customer who bought coffee for the person behind them in line or a surprise batch of cookies for a lonely next-door-neighbor. And there is simple kindness toward others--compliments, a smile, praise, or just saying hello! The writer Barbara de Angelis said, ''Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver."

I think we can all agree that kindness is powerful and to be kind to one another is valued. But what about self-kindness?  Today, we'd like to suggest some ways that you can be both the giver and the receiver of kindness by practicing self-kindness--get that double blessing! None of us are perfect---we all make mistakes and have flaws. But when we add stress to the mix, such as a challenging diagnosis like Mild Cognitive Impairment, acts of self-kindness can help. Self-kindness can help both you and your loved ones cope with your own internal experiences (your thoughts and emotions) as well as day to day outside stress with more resiliency. Mild Cognitive Impairment is, unfortunately, one of those stressors we just can't change. It is what it is. And when you can't change that external stressor, you CAN change your response to it.

Deliberate acts of self-kindness

Here are some recommendations for practicing self-kindness. This week, I'd like to challenge you to randomly pick an activity from the list below each day for the next week. Give that activity a try and see what happens!

  1. Do something nice for yourself (flowers, a movie, meet up with a friend, splurge on a fancy coffee).
  2. Praise yourself! Find one thing to compliment yourself about. Write that on your mirror in dry erase marker.
  3.  Watch your self-critic. If you hear a discouraging voice in your head--tell yourself something positive. What would you tell a friend if you heard them saying such discouraging words to him or herself?
  4. Spend 30 minutes doing something you love.
  5. Ask your partner or a friend or loved one to join you for lunch.
  6. Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for.
  7. Send yourself a thank you note--there is always something you can thank yourself for!
  8. Give yourself permission to say no. Say no to doing things that make you unhappy and yes to things you'd rather do instead.
  9. Set your own pace. Allow yourself to complete a task at a pace comfortable to you, even if that is slower than in the past.
  10. Walk tall and smile!  You will feel better and so will those you smile with!

Let us know how it goes!  Or  tell us what is your favorite random act of self-kindness? Next week, we'll aim to go a little more in depth into more broad concepts of practicing self-kindness in an ongoing manner in your approach to yourself and life.

Thank you, Andrea. I have shared this with a couple of folks in my family who need to hear it right now.

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@hopeful33250 Thank you for the reminder. I sure need a refresher course at times.

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Excellent advice. Many thanks! Perfect timing…

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Thank you for Part 1 of this amazing article, Andrea. I have shared it with two different discussion groups on Mayo Connect. I'm looking forward to Part 2!

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@parus

@hopeful33250 Thank you for the reminder. I sure need a refresher course at times.

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@hopeful33250 I too need to do more random acts of kindness for self. So often forget.

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Too often we are so caught up in being a wife, mother, friend that we fade away and become just the giver. Its wonderful to have some time to reflect on self and take some of your wonderful ideas to remember we are much more than those things.

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@lindapc

Too often we are so caught up in being a wife, mother, friend that we fade away and become just the giver. Its wonderful to have some time to reflect on self and take some of your wonderful ideas to remember we are much more than those things.

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@lindapc So very true. So oft we are so busy filling our roles we can lose who we are.

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