The Zoomer Report: Self-Compassion

Do you treat your friends and family better than you treat yourself?

According to the New York Times, many people who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, often score very low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.

There’s research showing that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.

The researchers say self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards, and the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent.

For those low on the scale, they suggest exercises — like writing yourself a letter of support. They are also starting a controlled study to determine whether teaching self-compassion actually leads to lower stress, depression and anxiety and more happiness and life satisfaction.

Photo © Lise Gagne

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report

Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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