Cut Yourself Some Slack. It’s Good For Your Health
It’s possible that everything that goes wrong is not your fault, but even if it is your fault, you might think about forgiving yourself. Why? Because self-compassion, otherwise known as cutting yourself some slack, has been found to be associated with lower levels of stress-induced inflammation. A Brandeis University news release reports that researchers at the school asked 41 people to rank their levels of self-compassion according to their agreement to statements such as, “I try to be understanding and patient toward aspects of my personality I do not like” and “I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.” The participants then took one stress test a day for two days and their levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory agent linked to stress, were recorded before and after each test. After the first stress test, participants with higher self-compassion had significantly lower levels of IL-6. On the second day, the researchers found something unexpected. Those with low self-compassion had higher base levels of IL-6 before the test, suggesting that they may have been carrying the stress they experienced the day before. The bottom line: people with low self-compassion appear to be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of stress.