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Self-Compassion: Go Easy on Yourself for Better Health

Caregivers take note.

According to a New York Times article, self-compassion is a new area of psychological research currently being studied. Author Tara Parker-Pope explains new research suggesting that accepting our imperfections and loving who we are may be the first steps to better health. So much so, that self-compassion may influence how much we eat, how much weight we lose, our anxiety and depression.  

This theory seems straightforward, right? But, although it is easy for people to have compassion for others, sometimes it’s not so easy to have that same sort of compassion for our own selves.

In the article, Dr. Neff, an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Texas at Austin, explains why self-compassion isn’t so simple: “I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”

Breaking habits are hard, and practicing self-compassion really is something that takes time. Dr. Neff suggests a set of exercises to help you get on the self-compassion track. These include, writing yourself a letter of support, reminding yourself that nobody is perfect or simply enjoying some sweets from time to time.

The idea is not to be confused with self-indulgence. “With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you,” said Dr. Neff.

This article was pertinent because I have always stressed the importance of a caregiver’s emotional and physical well-being. Their health is just as important as the person’s who they care for.

For the full NY Times article, click here:

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