Self-Compassion Mantra to Ease Stress

The acute and prolonged stress of adverse events has been found to have undisputed negative effects on the heart and longevity. Stress-induced compassion fatigue is also increasingly blamed for the premature end to productive careers. Risk of compassion fatigue, defined as a decreased emotional capacity to feel empathy for other's suffering, increases in workers exposed to intense or prolonged trauma, such as emergency department or critical care health care providers.

To that end, perfectionistic attempts to consistently meet high standards in health care and negative self-talk may contribute to loss of compassion and burnout. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual symptoms of chronic sympathetic arousal that occur with compassion fatigue can impact personal and professional satisfaction and productivity. Attempts to build resilience to stress explored numerous coping strategies, including brief on-the-job mindfulness interventions and positive self-compassion mantras.

We have found that repeating a four-phrase self-compassion mantra – such as wishing wellbeing, peace, joy and happiness – while looking in a mirror significantly improved our self-assurance and decreased self-criticism. Try saying a mantra in the rearview mirror before going to work or taking a few minutes in the middle of your busy day to ease stress and boost emotional capacity, for both you and your patients.

This article was authored by Elizabeth Lee, PhD; Jane Evans, PhD; Kimberly Porter, MSNc; Elizabeth Riley, DNP; Heba Sadaka, MSN; and Debra Stieve, DNP.