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PodcastEnhancing Well-Being with Self-Compassion: Insights From Dr. Kristin Neff

Enhancing Well-Being with Self-Compassion: Insights From Dr. Kristin Neff

Self-compassion expert Dr. Kristin Neff is guest hosting this week on Radio Headspace. Today she delves into the profound impacts of self-compassion on well-being and resilience, highlighting its role as a vital resource.

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(light music) Headspace Studio. Hi everyone, it's Dr. Kristen Neff here, your guest host for the week. Welcome to Radio Headspace and Thursday. So our week on self-compassion continues. Today, we're gonna talk about how self-compassion enhances our wellbeing and gives us strength and resilience, especially in the face of things like trauma. So learning to practice self-compassion is one of the healthiest things you can do. There's so many ways that self-compassion increases both mental and physical health. And one of the ways it works is by reducing shame and self-criticism, which are responsible for things like anxiety, depression. I mean, if you think about it, self-compassion helps us deal with the real tough stuff in life. And so in this way, we can think of self-compassion as a form of coping and emotional resilience. So the research shows it's very important for mental health. And if you think about why that is, self-compassion again is how we are with our suffering, how we're with the tough stuff. And so when we aren't self-compassionate, when we criticize ourselves or just shame ourselves for things, we tend to become anxious. We tend to become depressed. So self-compassion reduces negative states of mind. And the reason for this is because self-compassion feels good, right? It feels good when we're kind to ourself. Kindness is a positive emotion. It feels good when we're mindful and present with life as opposed to avoiding it or constantly trying to escape it. It also enhances physical wellbeing, because of course, mind and body are connected. One of the biggest strengths of self-compassion is in coping and resilience. Actually, one of the myths about self-compassion, something that gets in the way is people think self-compassion is gonna make them weak. The research shows it's just the opposite. People who can be compassionate toward themselves about the traumas they faced are less likely to develop post-traumatic stress syndrome. There was actually one study with combat soldiers that found that the level of self-compassion they had about the trauma they faced was more predictive of their wellbeing than the amount of action they saw overseas. So luckily, self-compassion isn't rocket science. It's actually not very difficult to give yourself compassion. It's just more challenging to remember to give it to yourself. So some very easy ways to give yourself compassion is, one, simply asking, how would I treat a friend in this situation. That will give you a clue to maybe how to treat yourself. Another very easy way to give yourself compassion is through physical touch. Putting your hands on your heart, cradling your face in your hands, giving yourself some physical warmth and support as a way to give yourself compassion. Another way to bring in self-compassion is to take what we like to call a self-compassion break. That's when you intentionally bring in the three components of self-compassion. So maybe you're thinking of a challenge you have in your life, or maybe you're feeling badly...


Duration4 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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