Want Happiness and Success? Be Kind to Yourself! - The Science of Self-compassion And How You Can Develop It

By Lisa Franchi on September 24, 2012

 “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all” – so goes a popular song. Problems are part of life. New challenges may come your way. There will be rainy days and cold winter nights. But if you will be kind to yourself, all will be well.

This is what the report of Dr Kristin Neff tells us. She is a researcher from the University of Texas in Austin who pioneered the study on self-compassion as a way to promote psychological healing, wellbeing and better relationship. Unlike self-esteem, self-compassion doesn’t require you to compete with other people or aim to go above them, or collect achievements in life. According to Dr Neff, it is a more constant personal quality where you value yourself just because you are a human.

Self-Compassion – a Key to Happiness

In her research, she found that self-compassion is a kind of coping strategy which can be learned. It decreases anxiety and improves a person’s resilience on the effects of stress. For Dr Neff, self-compassion depicts the spirit of mindfulness. This process involves being aware of everything that is happening around you and understanding what you feel. Through self-compassion, you acknowledge emotional suffering and tend to comfort yourself by generating feelings of warmth, softness, and care towards yourself.

As mentioned, self compassion can be learned. Through the following tips, you can master the art of self-compassion:

1.       De-stress.

Spare at least 30 minutes every day to relax and pamper yourself. Whether it’s taking a warm shower, getting a massage, or cuddling with your partner – find time to free your mind from the stress that the day brings. 

2.       Be your own best friend.

They say no one can put you down but yourself. If you feel bad, do not prolong the agony by not doing anything to cheer yourself up. Do not wait for someone to save you from misery. People are just going to be there to help, but no one can do it but you. 

3.       Don’t forget to laugh

Watch a funny movie, read a comic book, or exchange some jokes with your friends. Laughter has always been the best medicine. However, experts warn that in order to reap the benefits of laughter, it should be done wide and loud. Don’t just smile – laugh! 

4.       Seek help.

If you think you need someone to help you get over a depressing situation, find a professional therapist. He or she can assist you in uncovering insights needed to make your life better and promote wellbeing. 

5.       Invest on yourself.

Read a book, watch videos, listen to other people, attend seminars – anything that could increase your self-awareness and reconnect you with yourself. But it doesn’t stop there. Every day, make it a point that you incorporate what you have learned in your life.

If you are kind to yourself, the world will be kind to you too. Self-compassion has many benefits – higher self-esteem, more happiness, productive relationship, a life with little stress, and most of all – good health.


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