Being kind to oneself can improve physical and mental wellbeing – study

Study has said that being kind to oneself can help in improving mental and physical wellness


A new study has talked about the importance of being kind to yourself to help improve physical as well as mental wellbeing. One has to take time to think nice thoughts about yourself and the loved ones which calms the heart rate and switches off the body’s threat response. Some of the previous studies has shown that the threat response can damage the immune system. One can also take part in self-compassion exercises which can be a healthy thing to do.

The research was conducted by teams from Oxford University and Exeter University and believe that the ability to switch off the response can lower the risk of disease. The study has been published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in which 135 healthy Exeter University students were divided in to five groups and the members of each group heard a different set of audio instructions.

The team had measured the heart rate and sweat response and asked the participants to report how they were feeling. The questions included how safe they felt and how they were likely to be kind to themselves and how connected they felt to others. Two of the groups had received instructions that encouraged them to be kind to themselves and not only reported to feel more self-compassioned and connection with others but also showed a bodily response consistent with feelings of relaxation and safety.

The heart rates of the participants had dropped and there was also a variation in length of the time between the heartbeats. A healthy sign of a heart can respond flexibly under different situations. They had also shown a lower sweat response. On the other hand the instructions that had induced critical inner voice led to an increased heart rate and a higher sweat response with consistent feeling of threat and distress. Dr. Hans Kirschner, the study author said that the findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and put the body in state of safety and relaxation which is important for regeneration and healing.

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