When stress gets to you, go easy on yourself. It’s easy for high-achieving professionals to push themselves too far. You’re often your own worst critic. Instead of stressing yourself out, try self-compassion. Self-compassion isn’t just good for your mental health. It’s also good for your heart. One study found that people who practice self-compassion were at a lower risk of heart disease.
People tend to think of self-compassion as some type of new-age fad. Yet, it’s backed by sound research. Research shows that self-compassion lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged women. Of course, the findings will likely also apply to men and women of all ages. The idea to study the impact of self-compassion came about during the pandemic. Researchers noticed that the pandemic amplified certain stressors. They wanted to know if mindfulness practices, and other examples of self-compassion, could help improve heart health.
Research has previously focused on the impact of stress on the heart. Few studies have investigated the impact of positive psychological factors, including self-compassion. Yet, self-compassion is often used as a tool to help people deal with chronic stress. It makes sense that self-compassion would have a positive effect on the heart.
The study was led by Rebecca Thurston, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh. Thurston and her colleagues studied 200 women between the ages of 45 and 67. The participants answered a questionnaire to analyse their level of self-compassion. The researchers then scanned the participant’s carotid arteries with ultrasound equipment.
The findings were consistent, even when considering other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Smoking, physical activity, and depression didn’t change the results. The participants that exhibited greater self-compassion had less blockage in the arteries. The results of the study show the importance of self-compassion, especially during stressful times. Self-compassion promotes better heart health, which is also essential for proper cognitive health.
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Treating yourself with compassion is often easier said than done. This is especially true for high-achieving professionals. You may not know how to give yourself a break. One area of positive psychology holds the solution. Neuro-linguistic programming provides effective techniques for greater self-acceptance and mental stamina.
Cognitive reframing is one example. It allows you to rethink your perceptions, including your self-perceptions. You can use reframing to challenge your negative inner critic. For example, you may frequently doubt your skills and abilities. Reframing helps you analyse your skills and abilities in a realistic light. NLP sub-modalities are another solution for transforming your thoughts. You can use sub-modalities to gain a better understanding of your moods and emotions. You can use this knowledge to manipulate your thought processes. Other NLP techniques include anchoring, association, and disassociation.
Self-compassion goes a long way. If you struggle to cope with stress, consider exploring NLP techniques for relaxation. Learning to acknowledge and let go of negative thoughts builds your resilience. Why not get started today? To learn more, explore my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au