Self-compassion and mindfulness

Neff, K. D., & Dahm, K. A. (2013). Self-Compassion: What it is, what it does, and how it relates to mindfulness. Chapter to appear in Robinson, M., Meier, B., & Ostafin, B. (Eds.). Mindfulness and Self-Regulation. New York: Springer. Full text.

Over the past decade self-compassion has gained popularity as a related and complementary construct to mindfulness, and research on self-compassion is growing at an exponential rate. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show to a good friend.

When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. In order to give oneself compassion, one must be able to turn toward, acknowledge, and accept that one is suffering, meaning that mindfulness is a core component of self-compassion.

This chapter provides a comprehensive description of self-compassion and a review of the empirical literature supporting its psychological benefits.  Similarities and distinctions between mindfulness and self-compassion are also explored, as these have important implications for research and intervention. This chapter hopes to provide a compelling argument for the use of both self-compassion and mindfulness as important means to help individuals develop emotional resilience and wellbeing.

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