Evidence That It Works
One study found that participants who recalled a time when they gave emotional support to a friend reported greater self-compassion for themselves around a problem with which they were struggling, compared with participants who didn’t think about supporting a friend.
Research suggests that self-compassion practices are a form of self-care that may reduce burnout in adults who work in service-oriented professions like teaching. A review of 22 self-compassion related therapies indicates that self-compassion approaches can reduce both anxiety and depression. In fact, self-compassion strategies may even be more effective in addressing depressed mood than strategies like reappraisal (shifting your thinking about a negative event) and acceptance.
Why Does It Matter?
When we face challenges with students or colleagues, and we beat ourselves up about them as a result, we can end up feeling even more stressed and isolated. A healthier response is to treat ourselves with kindness and understanding, and the self-compassion break is a great way to self-soothe during times of stress at school. In fact, teachers who are more mindful and self-compassionate foster more emotionally supportive relationships with students in their classrooms.
And for those using the practice with students, self-compassionate college students are more likely to ask questions, seek help, and participate in the classroom activities, while high school students who practice self-compassion report greater social connectedness as well as lower anxiety and depression.