Self-compassion is simply the process of inwardly turning compassion. When we fail, make mistakes, or feel inadequate, we are kind and understanding rather than harshly self-critical. When we face challenges and difficulties in our lives, we offer ourselves support and encouragement rather than being cold and judgmental. According to research, self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and adaptability we have, significantly improving our mental and physical well-being. It motivates us to make changes and achieve our goals not because we are inadequate, but because we care about our well-being.
Self-compassion has been shown to have numerous positive effects, including
- Enhanced happiness
- increased optimism
- More upbeat mood
- Reduced stress Increased personal initiative Curiosity and exploration
- Improved ability to connect with others.
Self-Compassion and Mental Health
Self-compassion is commonly thought to have three key components, each of which can help with stress reduction. Responding to perceived inadequacy or disappointment with understanding, patience, and acceptance rather than harsh self-criticism is what self-kindness implies. This response is thought to defuse negative emotions and aid the individual in reinterpreting stressful events in a self-supportive manner. Recognizing that all people are flawed, make mistakes, and failure is common humanity. As a result of this recognition, self-compassionate people do not feel isolated by the experience of failure or struggle, but rather recognize that stressful events are a normal part of life.
Examining difficult events through this lens would likely reduce the perception of threat, which contributes to stress.
There is substantial evidence that self-compassion can reduce perceived stress.
Self-Compassion and Physical Health
Self-compassion facilitates the practice of a range of important health behaviors. Self-compassion is linked to healthy eating, exercise, smoking cessation, dietary adherence, medical adherence, seeking medical care, and other health-promoting behaviors.
Physical health includes Cardiovascular Endurance.
- Muscular Strength.
- Muscular endurance.
- Body Composition.
Self-compassion practitioners have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. People who scored higher on self-compassion had thinner carotid artery walls and less plaque buildup than those who scored lower on self-compassion. Indicators have been linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. Even when the researchers controlled for behaviors and other psychological factors that may influence cardiovascular disease outcomes, such as physical activity, smoking, and depressive symptoms, the positive results persisted. These findings highlight the importance of practicing kindness and compassion, especially towards oneself. Self-compassion has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, stress and anxiety, irritability, and depression and increase job engagement and performance.
We all live in extremely stressful times, and research suggests that self-compassion is critical for our mental and physical health. According to research, those who practice self-compassion benefit from improved relationships and health, increased motivation, resilience, and happiness, as well as lower levels of stress and depression.