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Wellness > Mental Health

Your Guide To Self-Compassion As A College Student

There’s a mean girl in my life and spoiler alert: She’s me. Yes, she’s the Regina George-sounding voice in my head that tells me I’m not ever good enough and makes fun of me whenever I do anything. And when I’m not feeling 100% mental health-wise, you guessed it––she makes my life a living breathing mess. Over the years I’ve tried most of the ways you can think of from guided journaling to meditation to get rid of the hold she has over me, and frankly, it’s been an exhausting ride. Although at times, her grasp feels suffocating, the one constant I’ve found that helps me deal with her remarks is self-compassion. 

If you’re like me and you want your inner mean girl to stay tucked away, you’re going to want to try a big dose of this skill. Self-compassion is the process of accepting yourself fully instead of judging your existence. It’s saying, “That was rough and I tried my best” after failing an exam, or taking a breather after a group project that you really need an “A” on goes South. Simply put, it’s a way to turn the volume on your personal Regina George voice down. The best part about practicing self-compassion is that all these strategies go together beautifully, so you can mix and match until you find a method that feels the best for you.

 Embrace your uncomfortable emotions.

Okay, I have to admit that doing this has single-handedly improved the way I view myself. It goes as follows: When an unpleasant emotion arises, name it. I personally like using those names from the baby name generators to do this. Instead of sadness, call her Darla, replace disappointment with Lucy, joy with Aimee, and so on. You can choose your own stellar names of course, but these give you an idea of where to start.

Tell your difficult thoughts that they “can’t sit with you.”

In true Mean Girls fashion, whenever an intrusive thought comes across your mind you have the power to let it know that it doesn’t belong there. Having a go-to phrase like “you can’t sit with me,” or “this isn’t a good time,” helps you to separate yourself from those gnarly thoughts that make life even more challenging. 

Encourage positive thoughts.

Just like you can tell your negative thoughts to go away, you can encourage your positive ones to stick around. Saying something along the lines of, “You’re killing it!,” or “You knocked it out of the park with that one,” is a helpful reminder that despite the heavy moments, good things are still happening around you.

Allow yourself to mess up with grace.

When you notice yourself falling into thought traps that are making you someone you’re not, instead of shaming yourself, offer yourself understanding. Being willing to embrace yourself — perceived imperfections and all — starts you on the road back to the best version of yourself. 

It’s a given that life will throw debilitating thoughts your way every once in a while, and it’s how you deal with their intrusion that matters. Having a stash of ready-to-use coping tools on hand like these will be life-changing. They may be the difference between you getting hit by the thought truck like Regina George, or finding yourself like Cady. However you decide to get yourself away from the Mean Girls in your mind, it will be worth it. So fetch.

Alicia Casey was a National Writer for Her Campus from December 2022 to April 2023 covering all things health and wellness. She's graduating from Cal State Long Beach in May 2023 with her B.A. in public relations and a minor in communications studies.