Key to happiness and well-being

Research published in The Journal of Research in Personality found that self-compassion had a significant positive association with self-reported measures of happiness, optimism, positive affect, wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, agreeableness, extroversion and conscientious. In addition it found significant negative association with negative affects.

Self-compassion is a healthy form of self-acceptance manifested as being kind toward oneself in instances of pain or failure; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness.

Self-compassion is a powerful predictor of mental health; it is positively associated with life satisfaction and social connectedness, and negatively associated with self-criticism, depression and anxiety . Happiness and Optimism the two important features of positive mental health are strongly associated with self-compassion

Self-compassion is the warm and accepting stance towards aspects of oneself and one’s life that are disliked, and is a product of three factors, kindness, common humanity and mindfulness:

1. Being kind and understanding to oneself in instances of suffering or perceived inadequacy.

2. Cultivating a sense of common humanity, recognizing that pain and failure are unavoidable aspects of
the shared human experience.

3. Cultivating a balanced awareness of one’s emotions. This means cultivating the ability to accept
without exaggeration, drama or self-pity our painful thoughts and feelings rather than avoiding them.

Ref: Kristin D. Neff, Stephanie S. Rude, Kristin L. Kirkpatrick, Journal of Research in Personality 41 (2007) 908–916 909

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