Self-compassion is a key component of resilience and wellbeing.
By encouraging more self-compassion in your employees, you can help remove some of the pressure they’re undoubtedly feeling after the last couple of years of constant shifts and adjustments.
Self-compassion is recognizing, acknowledging, accepting and responding to our pain or failures kindly.
The research conducted by self-compassion expert Dr. Kristin Neff suggests that self-compassion is made up of three core elements:
Mindfulness: Being aware of painful thoughts and feelings without labeling or judging them.
When we observe our thoughts and feelings rather than let them consume us, we become better able to recognize and cope with them.
Self-kindness: Being kind and understanding toward oneself in situations of pain or failure rather than being self-critical and harsh.
Some methods of practicing self-kindness can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase oxytocin, producing feelings of calm and safety.
Common humanity: Understanding that our experiences are normal and just part of the human experience.
Recognizing this allows you to better connect and relate to others.
Self-compassionate people are more resilient
The best way to measure the effects of self-compassion is to look at an individual’s resilience.
In a 2015 article by Dr. Neff, she noted, “researchers are discovering that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience available to us.
When we go through major life crises, self-compassion appears to make all the difference in our ability to survive and even thrive.”
This was evidenced, for example, in a study on men going through a divorce and in a 2022 study on the relationship between resilience, fear of COVID-19, psychological distress and self-compassion and psychological wellbeing.
How to encourage self-compassion in the workplace
Build a culture of encouragement: Foster a culture where employees are supportive and remind each other to respond to themselves with kindness.
Engage your teams in contemplative trainings that include mindfulness and self-compassion exercises.
Adopt an empathetic leadership approach: Leaders who are kind, empathetic and supportive are more likely to influence employees to be the same with themselves.
How are you at being compassionate with yourself and others?
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----- Adeola Mead is a Physician and Executive Wellbeing Coach with 15+ years of clinical and corporate consultancy experience. She is the Director and Chief Wellbeing Officer at Vitaliteam Workplace Wellness providing and curating health/wellness services and experiences centered on holistic, personalized care for individuals while fostering social connection and positive team cultures. VWW is a “Boutique EAP” agency that is hyper focused on identifying and comprehensively addressing the root cause issues underlying individual and organizational health & wellbeing concerns. Contact us for a complimentary care consult or corporate collaboration consult.