Self-Compassion and Psychological Well-Being

Presented by:
  • Chris Germer
  • Kristin Neff

Self-compassion involves treating ourselves kindly in times of emotional distress, just as we would a close friend we care about. Rather than making global evaluations of ourselves as “good” or “bad,” self-compassion involves understanding ourselves as imperfect humans, and learning to be present with the inevitable struggles of life with greater ease. It motivates us to make needed changes in our lives not because we’re worthless or inadequate as we are, but because we care about ourselves and want to lessen our suffering. This talk presented theory and research on self-compassion, which a burgeoning empirical literature shows is strongly associated with psychological well-being. It also discussed how self-compassion can be a powerful tool for caregivers, allowing us to be fully present for others while avoiding burnout and caregiver fatigue. Finally, a brief self-compassion exercise was taught, which can be practiced in daily life.

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