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  • Writer's pictureAshleigh Raine-Botha

Cut Yourself some Slack: The Proven Benefits of Self-Compassion


Why is it so difficult for us as human beings to be kind to ourselves? It is far easier to compliment and look for the good in others than it is to look for the positives in ourselves. A significant amount of research has consistently linked self-compassion with positive mental health. Self-compassion appears to be an important source of strength and resilience when faced with life stressors and has shown to be related to increased positive well-being in both adolescents and adults (Bluth & Neff, 2018). “When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” (Neff & Dahm, 2015)

Dr Kirsten Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion, has conducted extensive research, and has found that people who show themselves self-compassion are much less likely to be depressed, anxious, and stressed. They are also much more likely to be happy, resilient, and optimistic about their future. In summary, they have better mental health.

By showing ourselves compassion, we not only alter our mental and emotional state of being, however we also change our brain chemistry. Research indicates that increased levels of oxytocin strongly increase feelings of trust, calm, safety, generosity, and connectedness, and facilitates the ability to feel warmth and compassion for ourselves. Self-compassion is said to be a powerful trigger for the release of oxytocin (https://self-compassion.org/the-physiology-of-self-compassion/#)

The good news is that self-compassion can be learned and maintained over time. I challenge you today to cut yourself some slack and show yourself some love!

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