Evidence That It Works
A study found that participants who wrote a self-compassionate letter every day for a week reported lower symptoms of depression and greater happiness three to six months later, and participants who wrote a compassionate paragraph to themselves regarding a personal weakness subsequently reported more motivation to improve themselves.
Research indicates 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 their students.
And for those using this practice in higher education, research has found that self-compassionate college students are more likely to ask questions, seek help, and participate in the classroom activities.