Self-compassion, with Dr. Kristin Neff

August 14, 2019 Kim Forrester Season 3 Episode 4
Self-compassion, with Dr. Kristin Neff
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Self-compassion, with Dr. Kristin Neff
Aug 14, 2019 Season 3 Episode 4
Kim Forrester

Dr. Kristin Neff is an author, associate professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas, and pioneer in the field of self-compassion. On this episode, Kim Forrester chats with Kristin about the importance of self-compassion and learns how we can turn our inner dialogue away from harsh criticism, and toward support, understanding and self-care. 

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Kristin Neff is an author, associate professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas, and pioneer in the field of self-compassion. On this episode, Kim Forrester chats with Kristin about the importance of self-compassion and learns how we can turn our inner dialogue away from harsh criticism, and toward support, understanding and self-care. 

Intro:   0:02
Welcome to Eudaemonia, the podcast that is all about flourishing. Plug in, relax and get ready for the goodness as we explore the traits and practices that can help you thrive in life ... with your host, Kim Forrester.  

Kim Forrester:   0:22
Most of us understand the healing power of compassion, and society applauds those who comfort and care for others in their time of suffering. But how many of us turn that nurturing energy inward, into our own aching hearts, when we need it most? Dr. Kristin Neff is an author, researcher and pioneer in the field of self-compassion. She's an associate professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas in Austin, the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, and co-author of the Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. It's my absolute pleasure to be chatting with Kristin today to talk about the importance of self-compassion and to learn how we can turn our inner dialogue away from harsh criticism and towards support, understanding and self care. Kristin, thank you so much for choosing to be a part of Eudaemonia podcast. It's an absolute delight to have you here with me today.  

Kristin Neff:   1:24
Oh, thank you for having me.  

Kim Forrester:   1:26
Now you are regarded as one of the pioneers in self-compassion. Why did you decide to explore this topic in particular?

Kristin Neff:   1:35
Well, for me, it really started as personal practice. I learned about self-compassion when I started meditating, and I saw the immediate difference it made in my personal life. And I had also done some research on self-esteem and was familiar with all the problems psychologists were finding with self-esteem. And I thought, 'This is a really great alternative because it's a healthier way of relating to yourself.' So I just kind of started research on it, and it's exploding now. It's really quite remarkable.

Kim Forrester:   2:08
So you mentioned that it's actually changed your life, this exploration of self-compassion. You were obviously taking steps through meditation and other practices I assume, too, to increase your well being, but how has self-compassion, in particular, enhanced your life?

Kristin Neff:   2:25
Well, I mean, it's really transformative, pretty much, for anyone who practises it. I wasn't even a particularly harsh self critic, but I was going through a really stressful time when I learned self-compassion. I had actually just gotten out of a divorce. And then other times in my life, for instance, like my son was diagnosed with autism, and being able to have this resource of being a good kind, encouraging, supportive friend to yourself when times were difficult, just made all the difference in the world of my ability to cope with challenge. So, you know, it's really that - it's having that voice inside of your head that's warm, caring and supportive. I mean, of course it's going to help.

Kim Forrester:   3:11
You actually share a story on your website about a moment with your son: you're traveling on a plane and he, all of a sudden, becomes very irritable and upset. And in that moment you turned to self-compassion. Can you share that story with my listeners, perhaps, as an example of how self-compassion can work.

Kristin Neff:   3:33
Yeah, and it's useful for two ways - not only in terms of helping me cope but in helping my son cope. You know, a lot of people are under the false impression that self-compassion is somehow selfish; that we should be focusing on other people, not ourselves. But that's not the way the human brain works. We have these things called mirror neurons, where we're constantly feeling the emotions of others, and they're feeling our emotions. Right? So there's all this back and forth interaction. So when you're around - whether you're caring for your elderly parents, or you're a professional caregiver, or you've got a situation like a child with autism or some other difficulty - every time you're in the presence of someone else's distress, you feel that distress inside your own brain. You know, through your mirror neurons. But it goes both ways, right? It goes both ways in that, the person you're with, that you're caring for - every single person you're coming into contact with - either picks up on your internal mind state, which may be self critical, full of shame and frustrated or compassionate, kind loving, right. And so, really, the two are intertwined. So in this particular case, you know, I was with Rowan on the plane with his parents - his grandparents actually - live in England. And it was just that moment when they turned the lights down on the plane in a transatlantic plane, everyone's hoping to get some sleep. And for some reason that light change triggered him. I have no idea why. And he went into a full on, you know, screaming, flailing tantrum. And so I, you know, I had no idea what to do. I felt completely overwhelmed in that moment. The one thought that came to me - it was not a good plan, but it was the only one I had - was to take him into the toilet and have him cry in there and somehow maybe it might muffle the screams. Right? So I go to the toilet and I'm, you know, ready to try to escape the situation. But of course I couldn't because the toilet was occupied. Obviously, life, in that moment, did not ... it had a plan to stop to allow me to cleverly escape the situation. It wanted me to do something else. So, you know, I was really kind of hopeless at that point. Except that I did have my self-compassion practice. So, I mean, normally, when I when I practice self-compassion in public, I do it very ... I don't like ... I won't do anything really obvious. I just kind of do it internally, in my head. But that ... things were so bad I was, like, putting my hands on my heart. I was rocking and I was, like, just really tried to soothe and comfort myself. I was, you know, validating how hard it was for me and just reminding myself that I was there, that I would support myself, and that it was gonna be okay. And then when I did this, he calmed down, Rowan calmed down. Now over and over again I saw, when I got frustrated and ramped up, mad at myself or at him, he would get more irritated through his mirror neurons. But the more I could soothe and comfort myself, not only did it give me the resources is to be there for Rowan in terms of, you know, my attention, but he actually fed off my calmer and more compassionate mind state. So self-compassion is good for ourselves and others. It's not one, you know. We can't really separate us and others.

Kim Forrester:   6:44
In so many levels, Kristen; in so many facets of our lives. But what you described there - that comforting and soothing of self - I actually think that would feel really awkward and foreign to most people. Why do you think we resist this concept of self compassion?

Kristin Neff:   6:59
Yeah, it does feel awkward and foreign to most people. Well, first of all, we aren't taught that it's a good skill. People have really a lot of misconceptions about self-compassion. First of all, they confuse it with self pity. It's very different than self pity. Self pity is self focused - 'Poor me'. Compassion, by definition, brings others into the equation. Actually, the word, Latin 'com passion': to suffer with. So self-compassion, we remember that all people suffer. It's not just me. This is just part of the human condition. Nothing's wrong because I'm having a hard time or I made a mistake. In fact, this is what being human is about. So that 'more connected' relation to our own difficulty, we actually feel less separate from others. But people don't realize that; they think it's self pity, they think it's selfish. Again, they don't really realise how self-compassion actually allows you to give more than others. There's other misconceptions, like people think it will undermine your motivation, make you complacent. Research shows it's the exact opposite. You know, we know that encouraging, kind, supportive motivation is actually a lot more effective than shame and blame. I mean, if someone tells you, 'You're a loser, you'll never amount to anything', you know, it's not exactly the best motivational mindset. Whereas when people use constructive criticism, 'Oh, here's where you can improve', you know, 'I really believe in you. Here's what we can do. I'll help you. I'll support you', that's going to be more effective. So I think a lot of the reason we don't do it is, because our culture doesn't teach us and we have these fears about it. So, also, another thing is, when we feel threatened, we go into fight flight or freeze response. And so we turn that fight or flight or freeze inward. We either ruminate, we get stuck or we beat ourselves up thinking somehow it's going to improve the situation. Or we kind of hide ourselves in shame. Whereas, with other people, we can be compassionate to others because, you know, their problems don't threaten us as directly, whereas ours do. And so one of the useful things about self-compassion - and it does feel awkward. But in a way that's useful because what happens is, instead of being lost in our problems - like running away with the story line, 'Oh my God, the world's going to end. This is forever. I'm terrible.' - by stepping outside of ourselves and treating ourselves in a way that's not so normal, you know, like we would treat a good friend, it actually gives us some perspective on our situation. So we're less likely to run away with the situation. We're less likely to ruminate. We're more likely to see clearly. And it gives us a little bit of space between us and our difficulty, which allows for more skillful action. So it does feel weird, but believe it or not, it can be trained and, overtime, it becomes a much more normal feeling.

Kim Forrester:   9:52
You're very quick, there, to distance self-compassion from self pity. And I know that you also teach that it is definitely not self indulgence. But how can we tell if we're falling into one of those unhelpful mindsets? How can we tell that we 've stepped out of compassion and into self indulgence? 

Kristin Neff:   10:09
So self indulgence ... indulgence, the definition of it is 'short term pleasure at the expense of long term harm', right? So, yeah, the occasional bowl of ice cream, or some other thing, and the occasional - I don't know, whatever it is - pleasure is actually good for you. But what self indulgent means, that you're actually causing yourself harm in the long run. Like you drinking every night, or eating a tonne of sugary foods, right? It's gonna actually harm you in the long run. And so self compassion - compassion - is concerned with the alleviation of suffering. That's kind of another definition of compassion. So if you just ask yourself, 'Is this helping me or harming me in the long run?' And if it's harming you in the long run and just feels good now, it's actually not good for you, which means it's not self-compassion. The same thing with a parent and a kid. We know if parents and their children ... we know the difference between an indulgent parent or a compassionate parent. A compassionate parent doesn't say, 'Oh, yes, sure skip school. You can ask for all you want.' You know, a good parent does good for their child. So the same with us.

Kim Forrester:   11:16
So self-compassion is not the open invitation to actually justify unhealthy behavior in yourself.

Kristin Neff:   11:24
No, no, quite the opposite again. Because if you were just to justify it, and not see clearly the harm that was being caused, well, then you wouldn't be a good friend to yourself. You wouldn't be helping yourself. Right? Compassion, again, is all about reducing or alleviating your own suffering. On the other hand, it does understand that perfection is not possible, that we learn through our mistakes, you know, that try as we may, we're still going to fall down. But what that means is - kind of the bottom line of self acceptance - we can try and fail, try and fail, and that it actually becomes safe to try after failure, as opposed to giving up. So it really keeps us trying to do our best - because we care, not because we aren't good enough as we are.

Kim Forrester:   12:12
Now in your work, you also share this incredible, entwined relationship between self esteem and self-compassion. Can you explain that to my listeners?

Kristin Neff:   12:21
Yeah. So, it's not that they're so entwined, they just kind of ... people get confused because they're both kind of positive emotions toward the self. But self esteem is a judgment or an evaluation. You know, 'I'm a good person. I'm a bad person. I'm more the unworthy.' Right? And so it's a judgment, and for most people, it's based on three things, which is: how popular I am, you know ... And by the way, it's not how popular you ... how much your mother likes you, or how much your best friend likes you. It's other people at work, other people in general, you know. We don't really know them and they don't really know us. So that's kind of a source of it. Or perceived appearance is also very important. Or success. You know, whatever you care about - job or athletics. And the problem with that is that it's very contingent, right? So we feel good about ourselves when we succeed but, just when we really need to feel good about ourselves - which is when we fail - our self esteem fails. So, it's kind of a fair weather friend. But self-compassion is not about judging ourselves positively, it's just about treating ourselves kindly - especially when we fail or are feeling bad about ourselves. So the sense of self worth doesn't come from a judgment or evaluation. It comes simply from the fact that we're human beings,  worthy of kindness like all human beings are. And so it's much more - the sense of self worth linked to self compassion - it's much more stable over time. And there's lots of research showing it's actually much healthier. For instance, you don't have to feel special or above average to have high self-compassion. But you do with high self esteem. And that's a problem because, by definition, we can't all be above average. So you know, you don't have to compare yourself to others, you don't have to be better than others. And so, like, for instance, self esteem was linked to bullying. Why do little kids bully? Why do early adolescence bully? Because they want to feel like the cool kid. Whereas self-compassion, you don't have to be better than others. That compassion. You just have to be a, you know, flawed human being like everyone else. And that actually is an achievable goal.

Kim Forrester:   14:25
You actually say there are three elements to self-compassion. Perhaps you can talk them through with me briefly. So first of all is self kindness, which kind of seems rather obvious,

Kristin Neff:   14:36
Right, yeah. So that's kind of more that, kind of, easy way to think about self compassion - it is being a good friend to yourself. The other two elements are equally important, they're a little less obvious. The first, actually is mindfulness. You hear a lot about mindfulness these days, but mindfulness is core to self-compassion. In other words, you have to be willing to notice pain. Not only do you have to notice it, you have to be willing to turn toward it. Because usually we don't like to see pain; like, we don't like to see the homeless person on the street, or we're so lost in our struggle that we can't see it, or else we shove it down so you don't want to see it. So the first step is, just acknowledging, 'Wow, I'm really having a hard time.' You can't even give yourself compassion if you don't acknowledge that you're having a hard time and you need kindness. So that's the first step. And then, of course, a kind - rather than judgemental - response. But really important is ... the third element is common humanity. And this is what I was talking about that differentiates self-compassion from self pity. Right? So self pity is 'poor me'. With self compassion, because of this framing in the sense of the larger humanity, it's 'well, this is the way life is'. And this is really important because, even though we know logically that everyone's not perfect and logically, we know everyone struggles, emotionally, we forget it. So in the moment when we make a mistake, we say that comment, or we get that call from the doctor, in the moment we feel like some something has gone wrong. You know, 'Things aren't supposed to be this way.' As if what's supposed to be happening is, everything's perfect. And then, in that moment, everyone else in the world is leading a normal, perfect life and it's just me who's messed up. And that really adds insult to injury because, not only are we struggling, we feel all alone in our struggle. And for human beings, feeling isolated and cut off is really psychologically damaging. So with self-compassion, we just remember, 'Oh, wait, this is normal. This is part of life', you know. 'It's not the end of the world. It's not just me', and that really helps.

Kim Forrester:   16:46
Well, that's really interesting, because in that common humanity, first of all, we've taken the time and the courage to accept that we're going through a hard time, and that's probably affecting the way that we're behaving and acting in the world. When we're in that space and when we are aware of our common humanity, do you think that self-compassion can allow us to be more compassionate, and tolerant, and understanding towards others?

Kristin Neff:   17:09
Yeah, it can. So it's a little complicated. The research definitely shows that people who are more self-compassionate, you know, they can do more perspective taking because, really, that's inherent in self-compassion. They're more forgiving than others. They're also more compassionate to others but the relationship isn't as strong as you think. And that is only because there are many people who are very compassionate to others and aren't compassionate to themselves. So, in other words, you know, whenever there's a difference, it's always the case that people are more compassionate to others than to themselves. And, in fact, some people are almost obscene like that. You know, on a scale of 1 to 5, they might be like a 4.5. 'Yes, I'm so compassionate to others.' Of course, that may not be totally true, but they feel like they're always giving, they're always being compassionate. At the same time ... I mean, you probably know many people like this. You can have incredibly caring, kind, sweet people who just beat themselves to shreds. So the two don't necessarily go hand in hand. Yet we do know, for all people, that when you teach them to be more self-compassionate, they do become more compassionate to others. But the really important thing is they can sustain it. You don't necessarily burn out. Because if you give and you give and you give and you beat yourself up, you won't be able to maintain the giving. So self-compassion, when you kind of even the playing field - so you give to both yourself and others - that actually allows you to sustain compassion over time.

Kim Forrester:   18:41
So while we're talking about other people and common humanity, are there ways that we, as parents, spouses, friends, work colleagues, can enable others to be more self-compassionate. Or is it none of our business how others treat themselves?

Kristin Neff:   18:57
Well, I mean ... so first, if it's your partner, for instance, it may be your business if their self criticism is rebounding on you. Remember that, if someone's really, like, negative and upset and frustrated, you're feeling that with your mirror nuerons. So you may be something that you want to work on in therapy. I mean, I think coworkers it's perhaps none of our business. Children, of course, it is our business because we want our kids to be as healthy as possible. So I do think it's something to maybe discuss. But I also know that you can't, like, shove it down people's throats. They have to want to be kinder to themselves and see its benefits. So I always recommend that people just model self-compassion. Like for kids, just, you know, if you drop the glass, take that as an opportunity to say, 'Ah, you know, Well, it's only human. People make mistakes.' And, you know, if you take the wrong turn on the freeway, 'Well, okay. How do I learn from this and do better next time?' But if you beat yourself up in front of your kids, if you model like, 'I'm such a stupid, arggh', you're going to model that for your kids. But if you model compassionate, kind, understanding language towards yourself, that's also going to be something your kids pick up. And then, of course, if they want to talk to you about it, that's wonderful. For instance, a lot of parents, when they teach their kids about friendship and what it means to be a good friend, they take that opportunity to also say, 'And of course, that includes yourself, you know. What does it mean to be a good friend to yourself? What do you think that would look like?' You know, and friendship is really, I find, the best way to teach little kids about self-compassion.

Kim Forrester:   20:41
So let's turn that on its head. What if we have got someone close to us, someone we love, who keeps falling into self pity? Is there a way that we can nudge them out of self pity towards self-compassion?

Kristin Neff:   20:53
Right. I mean, so you have to be a little careful because, of course, people may take your nudging as a lack of acceptance or judgement. Right? So I think, if you were to talk to someone and maybe introduce the idea, 'Well, have you ever thought that maybe you can,  you know, just remember that everyone struggles? You know, maybe you don't have to feel so alone in your struggle.' As opposed to saying ... there would be a way to frame it so it doesn't sound like, 'stop being a cry baby', right? But sometimes, you know, we don't have control over other people's reactions, and sometimes the best thing to do is just to give yourself compassion for the fact that it's difficult to be around people who are really lost in self pity or self criticism. And you do what you can. But, you know, I do think we don't want to have self-compassion be the next self improvement thing - like you've got to exercise more, got to eat more, and got to have more self-compassion.  It needs to come, kind of, more from an holistic place of wanting to be healthier from the inside, as opposed to someone forcing it on us, I think.

Kim Forrester:   22:03
Sure. Now, because self compassion, I think, is awkward and foreign for so many people, I'm not sure that I even know what that looks like in a moment. When I'm having a stressful moment or a dark moment, what is it that I say to myself, Kristin? What is it that I do for myself, in that moment, that can help me be more nurturing, compassionate and comforting towards myself?

Kristin Neff:   22:29
Well, an easy thing is just to think, if you had a close friend who was going through the exact same situation you were going through, you know, what would you say to them? What type of language would you use? What would your tone of voice be? You know, what would your body posture be. So, most people, kind of, are quite naturally kind to their friends who are struggling. So that's one source. Another very easy way, actually, to be there for yourself is through physical touch. And I know it seems awkward; it seems touchy feely. But there's a reason it's touchy feely, because it's really based in physiology. Touch, for human beings, is one of the most important signals of care. And it makes sense, of course, because when a baby is born, they don't have any language. So all the caring - the fact that they're cared for and the attachment bond between parents and the child - is primarily communicated through touch. Also some sounds, like the gentle sounds, 'ohhhh' - those cooing noises - and the gentle tone of voice actually, again, communicates to infants, care.  So you can actually do a lot for yourself by using some sort of touch that feels supportive. Some people like to put their hands on their hearts, or maybe, you know, on their centre - you know, kind of above their belly - or hold their own hand, or touch their face. But again, you know, if the mind can't go there because it's too full of the story line of, you know, what's wrong or how I'm wrong, touch can actually cut through that. And it actually activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is like the tend and befriend response. It reduces cortisol, it increases heart rate variability, which allows us to more flexibly respond. So you can do an awful lot through touch. And also ground yourself; when you touch yourself as if someone else was touching you, you kind of feel it, it's not normal. So you think, 'Oh, I feel supported by myself'. And then, so if you start with touch and then add in language and think about tone of voice, all those three together, it can be really quite potent.

Kim Forrester:   24:35
So what about external factors? Are there ways that we can draw from our environment when we're trying to be more self-compassionate? You know, things like a bubble bath or some soothing music. Is that something that you normally integrate into self-compassionate practices?

Kristin Neff:   24:51
Yeah, so that kind of all falls under self care, and self care, you might think of it, it kind of depends on its intention. So if you take a bath, or you put on music because ... as an intentional response to the fact that you're feeling bad, it actually is a type of self-compassion. You're meeting your own needs in that moment. You know, sometimes it could fall into self indulgence, just depending on the circumstances, in a way. Only you know. But self care is great. The only problem with self care is it often happens, kind of, not when the immediate stressor is there. Like they say to parents, you know, 'practice self care', and that's great but what you really need to do - when you really need self-compassion - is, like, in the moment when your toddler's having the meltdown. That's where self-compassion comes in. In the moment, you can validate, 'This is really hard for me', you know, 'This is so difficult'. You know, 'This is something parents go through. This is normal'. You know, 'I'm going to be kind to myself. I'm going to try to be supportive and understanding, caring to help get me through this moment.' You know? And then, when you go home, you can have a bubble bath if you have time after changing the diapers. So self care is a part of self-compassion but it is limited by the fact that you have to have the time and the resources to do it, and it's usually, kind of, off the job not on the job.

Kim Forrester:   26:16
Sure. So according to the research that you've done, Kristin, is there any real benefit to practicing self-compassion, other than feeling a bit better about ourselves?

Kristin Neff:   26:25
Well, I mean, the research literature is huge; almost 2000 studies now. So I mean, for instance, very strong links to well-being, less depression, less anxiety, fewer eating disorders, better body image, less maladaptive perfectionism, better coping with stress, less stress. More positive outcomes, like happiness, well-being. It seems to be linked to physical health, like better immune function. It helps you cope with pain, it's better for romantic relationships, for instance, and people are make better relationship partners when they're self compassionate. It's good for aging. It's good for things like taking care of yourself, going to the doctor, exercising. So really, I think what we're finding is, self-compassion is really helpful in almost any sphere of life you apply it to. And again, if you think about it, it just makes sense. What's really surprising is that people don't do it more often because, whatever your circumstance is, if you're a good friend to yourself as opposed to an enemy - cutting yourself down - you're going to be better at whatever you're doing. You're going to be, you know ... having a helpful - as opposed to a harmful - attitude toward yourself is just gonna make it ... you're going to make yourself more successful, in addition to helping your well-being.

Kim Forrester:   27:44
It makes sense - in the way that you would guide a good friend through life in the best way possible, you end up guiding yourself through life in the best way possible.

Kristin Neff:   27:52
Exactly, and it's also useful, you know ... another way of thinking about it is kind of reparenting yourselves, ourselves. I mean, you know, some people were fortunate to have great parents who were always there for them when they needed them. But most of us, you know, had more human parents who sometimes weren't there, or were, you know, were critical or whatever; couldn't be there for us for a variety of reasons. And so with self-compassion, you're there for yourself. You're meeting your own needs. You know, you're really asking yourself, 'What do I need?' And you're taking action to give it to yourself - including, sometimes, what you need is to protect yourself, to say no, to draw boundaries. So, you know, which is also part of being a parent - protecting your child. So this internal ... kind of having that good, secure relationship with yourself can actually even help repair some of wounds of the past if you didn't have such great parenting. And it's just a really powerful resource, again, for well-being.

Kim Forrester:   28:52
Now, my final question is one that I ask every guest on the Eudaemonia podcast. I'm wondering if you can recommend a morning reminder - so this might be a daily ritual or practice, an affirmation - that can help my listeners develop self-compassion in their daily lives?

Kristin Neff:   29:08
So there's a practice we have - I have it on my website, actually; if you just Google 'self-compassion' you'll find me - called the Self Compassion Break. And it is probably one of the most portable practices to use. And I wouldn't say necessary ... You could do it first thing in the morning, but it's really only relevant when you're struggling in some way. So if you wake up and you're feeling great, probably do some other practice. But, if some time during the day, you're feeling stressed or anxious or, you know, sad or overwhelmed, it's a really useful practice. And it basically entails reminding yourself of three components of self compassion. So, you know, that first of all, reminding yourself that you're struggling. That's the mindfulness. You know, 'This is really ... I'm having a really hard time.' Just that, in and of itself, recognizing it as opposed to being lost in it, is very helpful. And then reminding yourself that, you know, this is part of life. 'This is what happens. It's not just me, you know. It's not like everyone else is having a perfect time; this is normal. I'm not alone in this.' But that's the common humanity. And then, really, just taking a few moments - even if it's just 30 seconds - to be kind to yourself. Put your hand on your face or your arm and just say, you know, 'Hey, I'm here. I'm here for you.' You can talk to yourself in the third person. You can call yourself by your name and call yourself sweetheart, if that feels comfortable, or whatever. Or it may not. But, you know, just remind yourself 'I'm here for myself. I care', you know, 'I want to be well and happy. I'm going to do what I can to help in this moment.' And so just bringing in the three components of self-compassion, combined with some sort of physical in activating your care system physiologically, can be really powerful.

Kim Forrester:   30:55
It sounds really, truly beautiful ... and a little bit awkward. So I would encourage all my listeners to try this and allow yourself to feel a little bit awkward and uncomfortable in the beginning, because the benefits are obviously out of this world.

Kristin Neff:   31:08
You can also do in private, too. You don't have to do it in public.

Kim Forrester:   31:12
Or in the middle of a packed plane over the Atlantic. Kristin, how can people find more about you. You actually have a website Is that correct?

Kristin Neff:   31:24
If you just Google 'self-compassion', you'll find me. And so I've got videos. You can actually take your own ... you can test your own self-compassion level. I've got exercises, guided meditations. That's probably the best place to start. And if you're a science nerd, I have hundreds and hundreds of original PDF scientific articles, research articles, on there as well.

Kim Forrester:   31:47
I want to thank you very, very much for all your work that you have done; for the research, for undertaking this incredibly important program, and process, and investigation into a phenomenal practice that we really don't know enough about. So thank you very much for all that you've done in that space. Kristin.

Kristin Neff:   32:07
Welcome. Thanks so much for having me on your show.

Kim Forrester:   32:09
Thanks so much for being here. Take good care. As the author Jack Cronfield once said, 'If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.' You have been listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. If you'd like to learn more about how to live a truly flourishing life, please subscribe and check out for more inspiring episodes. I'm Kim Forrester. Until next time, be well, be kind to yourself and remember, turn that compassion inward.