Mental health self help worksheet

What is the theory behind this Mental Health Self Help worksheet?

Self compassion is the ability to acknowledge, accept, understand and make efforts to alleviate one’s own pain and suffering. It is one of the key components responsible for maintaining one’s mental wellbeing and health. Self compassion has shown to inhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase resilience and optimism. 

According to Kristen Neff, one of the pioneers in self-compassion research, it entails a deep understanding towards one’s pain and failure instead of being critical or judgemental.  Developing this aspect of self-compassion can serve as a helpful tool in coping with failures in life. 

How will the worksheet help?

This worksheet will help in identifying and modifying one’s self critical thinking style that  could be contributing to their distress. It will help in being mindful of such harsh critical thoughts that inhibit the ability to be self compassionate in a situation where it is needed the most. 

How to use the worksheet?

Use this worksheet when you feel self critical thoughts or ‘self talk’ after a setback or failure. Identify which unhelpful thinking patterns they are based on. Ask yourself what facts support or negate your statements. Replace them with caring and understanding statements that you might say to a loved one or a friend in a similar situation.  

Mental health self help worksheet

  • Think about a recent event in your life where you failed at something you were trying to achieve and were very harsh to yourself about it. Then, recall and analyze your ‘self talk’ at the time. Self critical thoughts can have the following unhelpful thinking styles
LabellingMaking ‘global’ and ‘derogatory’ statements about ourselves based on one action or behaviour. 
ShouldingUsing words like ‘should’ and ‘must’ to put an enormous amount of responsibility on one self.
OvergeneralizingUsing one bad instance or event and believing everything else is bad too
  • Replace these thoughts with self compassionate thoughts. It would help to imagine what you would say to a friend or a loved one in a similar situation. We are often kind towards others but severely critical of ourselves. 
Briefly describe the situation

What were your thoughts at the time? What were you saying to yourself?Which unhelpful thinking style(s) applies to your statements?What evidence do you have to support/negate these statements?How differently can you structure these statements to be more kind and caring?


Neff, K. D. & Germer, C. (2017). Self-Compassion and Psychological Wellbeing. In J. Doty (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science, Chap. 27. Oxford University Press.

Neff, K. (2005) Self Compassion and Psychological Well-Being.Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 9(2), 27-37.

You can download this worksheet here.

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