17 Self-Compassion Exercises

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The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for all of the relationships you have with others.

If that relationship is not characterized by balance, compassion, and acceptance, then you’re not set up to be the best partner, parent, colleague, or friend that you can be.

We created this collection of 17 Self-Compassion Exercises (PDF) for professionals to help others create a kinder and more nurturing relationship with the self, using the best insights from the field of positive psychology.

$ 47

You will be equipped with the following tools:

  • Befriending Your Inner Critic

    Identify your own unique internal Judger voice, and to work with it, instead of engaging in the battle.

  • Common Humanity Jars

    Provide participants with an experiential demonstration of common humanity, one of the three elements of self-compassion.

  • Compassion-based Motivation

    Offers a new perspective on self-motivation that is characterized by more compassion and support.

  • Compassionate Chair Work

    Access disparate facets of the self, in order to understand how they work together, conflict, and how they feel in when experienced in the present.

  • Embracing Your Humanness

    Demonstrate to people that they are not alone in their tendency to be self-critical.

  • How Would You Treat a Friend

    Help clients to practice cultivating self-compassion by highlighting the discrepancy between how one treats oneself versus how one treats a friend.

  • Loving Kindness Meditation

    Cultivate compassion to ourselves and others using four "healing" elements.

  • Reframing Critical Self-Talk

    Increase the client’s awareness of inner criticism and promote a more self-compassionate stance towards the self.

  • Releasing Self-criticism thought balloons

    Help disrupt automatic thought patterns by making clients aware of self-critical thoughts and release them.

  • S.A.F.E. Self-Compassion Practice

    Provide an analogy for the process through which positive interventions aim to increase authenticity.

  • Self-Acceptance Meditation

    Help clients familiarize themselves with self-acceptance, reflect on the self’s inability to unconditionally accept the self, and set an intention to become more self-accepting.

  • Self-Care Vision Board

    Help clients increase self-care and self-compassion in a creative way.

  • Self-compassion Break

    Provide clients with a simple, memorable way to cultivate self- compassion when they need it the most.

  • Self-compassion Pause

    Create a more self-compassionate attitude and reaction in difficult times.

  • Taking Care of Myself

    Make your client aware of the various ways he/she already is involved in self-compassionate actions.

  • Training Self-compassionate Thoughts and Behaviour

    Increase daily awareness of self-critical thoughts and promote thoughts and behaviour that reflect a more compassionate relationship with the self.

  • Visualising a Compassionate Self

    Help clients relate to what it feels like to be self-compassionate and live more in line with this notion.

This pack contains the 17 highest rated self-compassion tools that our practitioners use for their own development, in coaching, for teaching, or in a therapeutic setting. Each of the tools has been created in collaboration with universities and experts around the world. 

All of the tools are rooted in science, draw from the latest research and insights from the field of positive psychology, and include references, practical advice, and a detailed description of how to use them.

Download them today to become a self-compassion expert, better help others, and grow your practice.

*Please note that these tools are also included in our Positive Psychology Toolkit.

The following experts create our tools and resources:

  • Alicia Nortje


  • Anna K. Schaffner


  • Claire Vowell


  • Elaine Houston

    B.Sc. (Hons)

  • Gabriella Lancia


  • Heather S. Lonczak


  • Hugo Alberts


  • Jeffrey J. Gaines


  • Jeremy Sutton


  • Jessica Swainston


  • Joshua Bourne


  • Joshua Schultz


  • Lucinda Poole


  • Maike Neuhaus


  • Melissa Madeson


  • Nicole Celestine


  • Oliver Page


  • Tchiki Davis


Yes, of course! While these tools were designed with practitioners in mind, they are written in an accessible way so that anyone can benefit from them.

Upon purchase, you will receive access to a .zip file containing all the tools as PDFs. If you have any difficulty accessing the tools, please contact us at info@positivepsychology.com.

This can vary a lot from one exercise to another. As a general rule, most take around 30 minutes to complete but can take longer if more reflection is required. Some tools take place over a longer period of time, such as a week.

The tools can be adapted for the self, individuals, groups, teams, and different client populations. You are free to use your own experience and expertise to adapt the tools to your own particular scenario.

Yes, but in order to promote good practice, please note that you are advised to use the tools within the boundaries of your professional expertise. For instance, if you are a certified clinician, you are advised to use the training within clinical psychology. Likewise, a school teacher may use the tools in the classroom, but it would not be advisable to use them for clinical populations.

The exercises and interventions aren’t specifically designed for any particular age group, but you can adapt any of them so that they are suitable and age-appropriate.

The vast majority are, yes. Every tool has an icon that indicates whether it has been tested at least once in a scientific study and published in a peer-reviewed journal. We always include references and credits for each tool. The tool developers are academics with scientific and experiential backgrounds.

You’re free to download these tools in PDF format and print them for your personal or professional use, such as in a coaching or classroom setting. You’re not allowed to publish these tools publicly.

Within seven days of your purchase, if you decide that the tools aren’t for you, we’ll be happy to offer a refund.

Absolutely! Send Lucy, our Practitioner Success Manager an email at lucy@positivepsychology.com and she will gladly take care of you. Alternatively, you can call us on 1-424-272-1280 (our working hours are 9am-6pm EST, Monday - Friday). We look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Dr. Donna Lee

    I use self-compassion exercises to help me to work more effectively with my clients. It’s a great set of tools. I have bought several PositivePsychology.com products and I appreciate all of them.

    Dr. Donna Lee Spiritual Life Coach

  2. Joaquim Maciel Vieira

    It’s a very powerful tool to help people who deal with guilt and shame. Thanks for sharing.

    Joaquim Maciel Vieira Christian Counselor

  3. Mark T. Johnson

    I love using these to work with teams that are experiencing difficulties. It moves the conversation from “them” to “me” and works on compassion and capability rather than fixing. The additional resources are great too!

    Mark T. Johnson Learning Consultant (Facilitator)

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