Guest Post: How to Reduce Stress Using Self Compassion

This post was written by Joanna Njama, self-care blogger and creator of The Melanated Maven.

There are just some things in life that are stressful, no matter how you spin it.

Tackling your daily to-do list, striving to meet a deadline, and even dealing with your own self-doubt can take a significant toll. Especially when you start to feel the pressure to move quickly, not only from other people, but yourself.  Sometimes, we can feel like we have no control of what’s happening in our lives.

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But what you do have control over is how to approach your stress, and the ways you develop to nip it in the bud before it spirals. It starts with you.

Finding the ways that work for you to fight against your negative self talk, stress, and anxiety is how you take your power back through self care. And it can start with small habits that become lifelong paths to creating your happiness and living the best life you can!

Develop Your Resilience

Cut off in traffic? Coworker pissed you off? Don’t let these small annoyances derail you! Trust me, it’s not worth even a few seconds of your time. Cultivating more resilience allows you to stop before you react irrationally because emotional reactions are usually not well-thought out ones.

When you’re in a funk, it has the potential to poison your whole day. How you behave, think, and interact with yourself and others goes through that negative filter. When you’re more patient with others, you will be more patient with yourself.

Let Go of the Others’ Expectations

Shake off the expectations of others and the unrealistic expectations for yourself. Focus on living life on your own terms. People (and even ourselves!) are always going to try to rush you, criticize you, and even tell you “better” ways to do something. But all that matters is what is enough for you.

Make the choice to not internalize it and turn it into something negative about who you are. You have all the power and control in deciding that other’s opinions bear no weight in your life.

Listen to Your Intuition

Next time you feel like you’re being pushed past your own comfortable pace or direction, be aware that it may be your intuition trying to get your attention! It’s that gut feeling that something isn’t right. And by following your instincts, you learn to trust your unique process, the journey, and most importantly, yourself!

Be patient and give yourself the time and space to get there. All that matters is that you get there, not how long it takes.

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Develop Your Confidence

You have to be your own biggest cheerleader! Remind yourself that you are more than capable. The more you feed those feelings of confidence, the stronger it gets. Pretty soon, your inner voice will be louder than all of the naysayers, and that’s when you know you’re doing it right.

Clear Your Mental Space

Meditating or going for a quiet walk can be beneficial ways to calm your mind and take a break from the daily routine. A sense of clarity comes from when there are no distractions from the outside world. That means no cellphone, no family responsibilities or social obligations! So work to get into a daily habit of scheduling a mental break, even when life is at its busiest.

Trust The Process

Your intuition is a powerful navigator. Those butterflies in your stomach? That’s it! So if you don’t make a note to follow in its direction, you’ll miss the chance to see where it could take you.

Trusting the judgement and advice of others hasn’t fulfilled you, so how could you go wrong with choosing yourself?

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Focus Less on The Negative

Your time is too precious to waste bringing yourself down. It has happened, as that too shall pass. Meanwhile, do something to get out of the funk. Whatever puts you back into a better mood will change your day immediately. Even if you’re not feeling up to it, you’ll be surprised to see how a coffee date with a  friend or scrolling through #selfcare on Instagram can change your perspective to a more positive one!

Ways to Reduce Stress Instantly

Need to squash your anxiety in a pinch? Try my 3 effective techniques to get you calmer and thinking with more clarity in minutes!


Taking long breaths from deep in your lungs has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and overall stress. When we’re feeling anxious, we tend to take shallow breaths from the upper part of our lungs which can cause the body to respond like it would if you were hyperventilating. *Enters panic mode*. 

So there comes the quickened heart rate and other intense physical responses. These are what you want to work through to get back on track!

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Photo by Ingrid Santana on

Try this quick breathing exercises to counteract anxious feelings. Inhale for 2 seconds, then exhale for 4. Then in for 3, out for 6. Doing exercise in multiples will make you exhale for longer, allowing oxygen to flow through your entire body.

Quiet Time & Meditation

Whether I use an  app or just sit in silence, mediation has really helped me learn to take time to stop and slow down. Allowing your mind to be silent without distractions provides more clarity to make your own choices. You’re not in a hurry, you’re not influenced by others, and you can really ask yourself what it is you want. It’s like hitting the reset button!

And if you’re like me when you get really overwhelmed, your shoulders get tense, your posture is thrown out of wack, and your mind is racing. Paired with the breathing techniques above, calming yourself physically and mentally will help you learn your own negative habits so you can transform them into positive, self care routines.


Affirmations are truly powerful tools to fight back against your negative self talk. Whether you write them in a journal or say them out loud, it’s an active way to re-program your brain and dramatically change your negative thought patterns.

Find brief words or phrases to recite to yourself, every time you have a moment of anxiety. Even a simple affirmation like, “I can do it”, can do wonders for your mental conditioning and help you gain more confidence.

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Whether it’s with your exercise regimen, learning a new skill, or failing and losing motivation, remember that patience is resilience. You will get there, no matter how insurmountable it may seem. And the lessons you pick up along the way contributes to your growth moving past your comfort zone.

The only way to ensure failure is to never attempt it again so keep your effort consistent! Get up every day with intention so you can squash your fears and not be afraid to live your best life.


42604016_1659042937535158_4672524986089472_nHi, I’m Joanna! I went from stressed-out perfectionist to self-care enthusiast by making my intuition and self-care top priority. So I created The Melanated Maven, a sacred self care space that empowers women to be proactive about cultivating a more passionate, happy and stress-free life. Only you can truly change your life!


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