The quickest path to self-compassion is through soothing touch. As mammals, our bodies are naturally comforted by warmth and gentle pressure. This ability evolved so that mammalian young would stay close to their mothers and remain safe from predators. When we experience tender touch, therefore, our internal care-giving system is automatically activated and we start to feel calmer and more secure. One of the easiest, most effective exercises taught in the Mindful Self-Compassion program (an eight-week self-compassion skills training workshop developed by Chris Germer and myself) is simply putting one’s hands on one’s heart. When you’re suffering, you can acknowledge this and comfort yourself by putting one hand over the other, feeling the warmth of your hands and noticing the rising and falling of your chest. If you use words of kindness toward yourself (e.g., I'm sorry this is so hard right now...) it makes it even more effective. And if you’re in public you can use what I call the “surreptitious self-hug.” This involves folding your arms and giving them a gentle squeeze. As long as there is the intent to express self-compassion it works, and no one needs to know!