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Kristin Neff in particular has pioneered research into the benefits of self-compassion for health, relationships, work stress, parenting and a host of other life issues. You can find out more specifics regarding this burgeoning field here on Kristin Neffs website.

Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.

In a Randomized clinical trial of MSC with intervention group vs. wait-list control group (Neff & Germer, 2013) MSC led to significantly greater gains in self-compassion, mindfulness, compassion, life satisfaction, as well as greater reductions in depression, anxiety, stress, emotional avoidance.

  • All well-being gains maintained for one year
  • Degree of formal and informal self-compassion practice both related to gains in self-compassion

Highlights of the evidence that self-compassion is positive for our health, relationship and stress hardiness include:

Self-compassion has been linked to Wellbeing

(Zessin, Dickhauser and Garbadee 2015)

  • Reductions in: anxiety, depression, stress, rumination, perfectionism, body shame, fear of failure
  • Increases in: life satisfaction, happiness, self-confidence, optimism, curiosity, creativity, gratitude

Greater Self-Compassion offers same benefits as Self-Esteem without the pitfalls

(Neff and Vonk 2009)

  • Fewer social comparisons
  • Less contingent self-worth
  • No association with narcissism

Greater self-compassion has been linked to Coping and Resilience

  • More effective coping with academic failure, chronic pain, divorce (Sbarra 2012)
  • Less likely to develop PTSD after combat trauma (Hiraoka 2015)
  • Better coping with chronic health conditions (Sirois 2015)

Greater self-compassion has been shown to impact Motivation positively

  • Increase in Intrinsic motivation, desire to learn and grow (Neff, Hseih and Dejitthirat 2005)
  • Personal standards just as high, not as upset when don’t meet them (Neff 2003)
  • Less fear of failure, more likely to try again and persist in efforts after failure (Breines and Chen 2012)
  • Improved Diet, exercise, quitting smoking, safe sex, doctors visits (terry and Leary 2011)
Greater self-compassion has been shown to increase Other-Focused Concern
  • Greater compassion, altruism and empathy for others (neff and Pommier 2013)
  • More forgiveness of others and perspective taking (Neff and Pommier 2013)
  • More caring and supportive relationship behaviour (as rated by partners) (Neff and Beretvas 2013)

Greater self-compassion has been shown to increase sense of Personal Accountability

  • More conscientiousness (Neff Rude Kirkpatrick 2007)
  • Taking greater responsibility for past mistakes (Leary 2007)
  • Disposition to apologize (Howell et al 2011)

Caregivers with greater Self-Compassion experience:

  • Less burnout and compassion fatigue (Raab 2014)
  • More satisfaction with care-giving role (Bernard and Curry 2012)
  • Increased wellbeing in parents of autistic children (Neff and Faso, 2014)