Research on self-compassion suggests that people who are more self-compassionate tend to be happier, less judgmental of themselves, experience less anxiety and depression, and relate better to others. 'By wrapping one’s pain in the warm embrace of self-compassion, positive feelings are generated that help balance the negative ones, allowing for more joyous states of mind.' Kristin Neff and Andrew Costigan. The following is extracted and adapted from an article by Kristin Neff and Andrew Costigan: 'There is growing evidence that self-compassion is an important source of happiness and psychological wellbeing. Neff (2003b) has helped define self-compassion as consisting of three main elements: self-kindness versus self-judgment, a sense of common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification. These components combine and mutually interact to create a self-compassionate frame of mind.

Self-kindness entails being gentle, supportive and understanding towards oneself. Rather than attacking and berating oneself for personal shortcomings, the self is offered warmth and unconditional acceptance (even though particular behaviors may be identified as unproductive and in need of change) rather than treating oneself with harsh criticism or judgment. It also involves actively soothing and comforting oneself in times of distress. Common humanity involves recognizing the shared human experience, understanding that all humans fail and make mistakes, that all people lead imperfect lives. This enables one to develop a broader and more connected perspective with regard to personal shortcomings and individual difficulties, rather than feeling isolated in one’s imperfection. Mindfulness, the third component of self-compassion, involves being aware of one’s present moment experience of suffering with clarity and balance, neither ignoring nor ruminating on negative aspects of oneself or one’s life experience. Self-compassion can be directed towards the self when suffering occurs through no fault of one’s own – when the external circumstances of life are simply painful or difficult to bear. Self-compassion is equally relevant, however, when suffering stems from one’s own imprudent actions or personal failures... Self-compassion does not avoid pain, but rather embraces it with kindness and goodwill, generates a sense of wellbeing that is rooted in the experience of being fully human '


'Consistently, research suggests that greater self-compassion is inversely associated with negative states of mind such as depression, anxiety and stress... Of course, a key feature of self-compassion is the lack of self-criticism, and self-criticism is known to be an important predictor of anxiety and depression Greater self-compassion is also linked with less rumination, perfectionism, and fear of failure.
The resilience self-compassion offers against negative states of mind may be related to the finding that self-compassion tends to decrease cortisol and increase heart-rate variability
Self-compassion appears to facilitate resilience by moderating people’s reactions to negative events.
self-compassion may decrease maladaptive emotional reactions because weaknesses feel less threatening when considered in the light of the shared human experience.
Self-compassion is associated with a number of positive psychological strengths. Self-compassionate people report feeling more happiness than those who lack self-compassion They also display higher levels of optimism, gratitude and positive affect more generally. Self-compassion has also been linked to emotional intelligence, wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity, intellectual flexibility, life satisfaction, and feelings of social connectedness – all important components of a meaningful life. Self-compassion has been associated with feelings of autonomy, competence, relatedness, and self-determination. Research suggests that self-compassion is not just a pre-existing personality trait – training in self-compassion can also result in enhanced psychological wellbeing. Three weeks of self-compassion training for college students led to significantly greater increases in optimism and self-efficacy, as well as significantly greater decreases in rumination in comparison to a time management control group. Similarly, another study conducted an experiment in which individuals were asked to write a self-compassionate letter to themselves every day for seven days. They found that the brief intervention decreased depression for three months and increased happiness levels for six months compared to a control group who wrote about early memories. That is the beauty of self-compassion. By wrapping one’s pain in the warm embrace of self-compassion, positive feelings are generated that help balance the negative ones, allowing for more joyous states of mind.


'Because self-compassionate people provide themselves care and support, they appear to have more emotional resources available to give to others.' Kristen Neff and Andrew Costigan In addition to personal happiness, self-compassion appears to increase interpersonal happiness. In one study individuals with greater self-compassion were described by their partners as more emotionally connected, accepting and autonomy-supporting while being less detached, controlling, and verbally or physically aggressive than those lacking self-compassion. Participants with self-compassionate partners also reported being more satisfied in their relationship.