Today’s exercise is the last in a series of interventions designed to enhance self-compassion. The first exercise addressed self-compassion using a writing-based exercise, in which you wrote a self-compassionate letter to yourself. Next, I encouraged you to approach self-compassion visually by creating your “ultimate self-compassionate image.” In this final exercise, we’ll try one more way to increase your self-compassion – listening to a guided self-compassion meditation.
Self-compassion meditations combine self-compassion with elements of mindfulness meditation, which is a practice designed to enhance your ability to remain aware and non-judgmental of your experiences in the present moment. Evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests that self-compassion based interventions, including those that incorporate mindfulness or are provided alongside other mindfulness interventions, are associated with improvements in self-compassion, body satisfaction, and quality of life, as well as decreased psychological symptoms.
This final self-compassion exercise is a guided “self-compassion break” led by Dr. Chris Germer, who worked with Dr. Kristin Neff to develop Mindful Self-Compassion training, an 8-week program that teaches self-compassion skills for use in daily life.
Today’s Positive Psychology Exercise: Take a Self-Compassion Break
Follow this link to listen to a short (6 minute) guided self-compassion meditation, led by Dr. Christopher Germer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ax8Y741rxA
Smeets, E., Neff, K., Alberts, H., & Peters, M. (2014). Meeting suffering with kindness: Effects of a brief self-compassion intervention for female college students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(9), 794-807. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22076
Objective: The present study investigated the effectiveness of a newly developed 3‐week self‐compassion group intervention for enhancing resilience and well‐being among female college students.
Method: Fifty‐two students were randomly assigned to either an intervention designed to teach skills of self‐compassion (n = 27) or an active control group intervention in which general time management skills were taught (n = 25). Both interventions comprised 3 group meetings held over 3 weeks. To measure resilience and well‐being gains, participants filled out a number of questionnaires before and after the intervention.
Results: Results showed that the self‐compassion intervention led to significantly greater increases in self‐compassion, mindfulness, optimism, and self‐efficacy, as well as significantly greater decreases in rumination in comparison to the active control intervention. Whereas both interventions increased life satisfaction and connectedness, no differences were found for worry and mood.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that a brief self‐compassion intervention has potential for improving student resilience and well‐being.