At the end of each year it’s a custom to make resolutions to improve one or more aspects of your life. Some people vow to lose weight, others promise that they’ll save more money—yet somehow after two or three months you find you have succumbed to your old habits.
Maybe you’ve faltered from your goals due to stress, or perhaps you’ve found that your goal doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Instead of beating yourself up, why not replace that frustration with compassion and make 2016 the year for being nicer to yourself?
How do you react to failure? Do you keep a positive outlook as you focus on what you can do to make improvements in the future? Or do you become discouraged as you dwell on your shortcomings? Studies have shown the mindset that you have toward yourself can actually affect your overall health.
The concept of “self-compassion” means you are able to accept failure and inadequacy with kindness and understanding. A series of studies conducted by leaders in the field of psychology examined the relationship between self-compassion and overall health.
These studies revealed people who treat themselves with self-compassion tend to have a better state of both mental and physical health. These same studies found that self-compassion can help decrease the long-term effects of stress.
Being kind to yourself also requires taking a balanced approach to your life and learning to channel your emotions. Mindfulness is your ability to accept your feelings and thoughts about your life experiences.
In this case, it would mean accepting your failure to achieve your established goal and using your emotions to encourage yourself instead of becoming overwhelmed with stress and disappointment.
Aside from the positive effects mindfulness can have on your emotional health, the practice has also been linked to several physical health benefits.
Scientists from Brown University recently published a study concluding that highly mindful people tend to have a better understanding of their emotions, thoughts and sensations, which gives them a greater sense of control over the health choices they make. Similarly, the researchers observed that mindful people tend to have healthier hearts and a reduced risk of obesity.
Whether or not you’re still committed to your New Year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to change the way you look at yourself. After all, being kind to yourself through self-compassion and mindfulness can only help you achieve all of your other goals in 2016.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.