Self Compassion and Stress at Work

Next week I am giving a speech at the Queensland Nurse Leaders Conference on the topic of ‘Stressed Organisations, Distressed Staff’. One of the ideas I will be exploring is self-compassion. The evidence suggests that self-compassion can help when we are experiencing difficulty. Here is a table summarising some of the research on self-compassion and comparing it to self-esteem:

High Self Esteem but Low Self Compassion High Self Compassion
Lower depression and anxiety c.f. low self esteem Less painful emotions when distressing events occur
Defensive in the face of negative feedback React to negative feedback with more acceptance and with an orientation towards growth and the development of mastery
Fail to learn from mistakes More willing to make needed changes
May not always take responsibility for their actions Take more responsibility for their actions
Can be narcissistic More compassionate to others
Associated with more wisdom, more curiosity, more initiative, higher scores on agreeableness

One approach to increasing self-compassion is to imagine someone who is very compassionate – it could be someone you know, someone famous or an imaginary person – and then consider what they would want to communicate to you when you make mistakes or feel disappointed in yourself.

6 thoughts on “Self Compassion and Stress at Work

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