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Education Hub

Be Kind to your body

9 to 12 years old

You are the person you will spend the most time with- it’s important that you talk to, and treat yourself with kindness!

Sometimes people think that they need to be hard on themselves in order to motivate themselves to do well, or to do hard things- but it’s just not the way it works.

Understanding that things are hard sometimes, feeling your feelings, and treating yourself with the kindness that you would treat a friend is a much better way to go.

So let’s learn how to be our own biggest fan.

So many people are harder on themselves than they are on others. Being critical of yourself and what you can or can’t do, and setting really high standards for yourself to reach, isn’t necessary for you to do well at school, in sport, and in life.

It’s really important to remember to be kind to ourselves in relation to our bodies too. Some people think and say things about their bodies and the way they look that are so mean, they would never say that about another person- and over time, this can start to hurt.

Sometimes these critical thoughts come up when you are comparing yourself to others- how you do at school or sport- we are going to learn how to turn down those critical thoughts and start accepting who we are.

Being kind to yourself, having self compassion, is good for you- and it feels good too!

If you picture your Inner Critic sitting on one shoulder, it’s the one that says mean things- like ‘you should’ve tried harder’, or ‘you’re so bad at that’. Now picture your Inner Cheerleader on the other shoulder- it’s the one that would say ‘you did your best’ and ‘there are so many other things you are good at’.

Being kind to ourselves means that we turn down the volume on our inner critic, or stop them from speaking up so much. When we start to listen to our inner cheerleader more and more, it starts to become more automatic – we start to respond to ourselves with kindness and compassion.

Researchers around the world have found that the people who are kindest to themselves report all sorts of benefits- like sleeping better, have less stress, anxiety, and depression, and have better physical health too.

You can start to be kinder to yourself in a few ways.

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    Listen to some self compassion meditations, or do some writing exercises.
This can help you to start to realise what being kind to yourself feels like.
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    Practice self compassion in the moment
When you notice your inner critic saying mean things to you, you can stop them, think through what you are actually feeling, think about whether anyone else might have felt this way, and then to say kind words, or do kind actions.
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    Find a phrase that works for you that you can go to when times are tough or you start worrying about things – like:
“It’s ok, I’m doing the best I can” or “You tried, and that is what really matters”
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    Try giving yourself some kindness through touch.
This might look like putting your hand on your heart to reassure yourself, or massaging the back of your neck in a tough moment. This helps you to feel calm.

Interactive Downloads

Download these free resources to help you embrace your body!

#IHaveEmbraced Pledge Desktop Wallpaper

Be Kind To
Yourself Desktop Wallpaper

Doing The
Best That I Can Printable Art

Ideas For
Self Compassionate Actions Worksheet

Responding
With Self Compassion Worksheet

Your Self Compassion Traffic Light Worksheet

FLIP TO KINDNESS

Use your mouse (or finger if you’re on mobile) to select each tile and practice self compassion by flipping each critical thought to a kind one.

I should have tried harder

I can try again next time

I’m so bad at this

I’m great at lots of other things

I wish I was taller

My body has its own benefits

Why can’t I look like them

The way I look is unique to me

I messed up again like I mess up every time

It’s ok, I’m still learning. The only way to fail is to stop trying

I need to get all of these things done to perfection

I’m only human, I will try my best

You’ve messed up again like you do every time

It’s ok, making mistakes makes you human. I will take a deep breath and try again

Why can’t you do this

I am proud to be me

My commitment to myself

I will accept and appreciate my body.
I will fuel and move my body because it feels good!
I know that I have special magic – unique only to me.
What I look like is not as important as what I do and who I am being in this world.
I will Embrace my body and encourage other people to do the same.

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