The teenage years are perhaps the most angst filled years of a young person’s life, with the pressures of social expectation and self-criticism weighing on them, particularly for girls. In light of new research, the Master Oh blog considers how the simple act of treating oneself with self-compassion is more effective than improving self-esteem.
Pioneering researcher Kristin Neff, defines self-compassion “as treating oneself with kindness and care rather than judgment, being mindful of one’s own painful feelings, and understanding one’s suffering as part of the common human condition.” Previous research has shown this principle to be true for adults, but up until recently, there has been a dearth of research into its effect on young people.
A study conducted on students in US middle school and high school, focused on their levels of positive and negative feelings, perceived stress and life satisfaction, as well as self-compassion. The study showed self-compassion was associated with higher life satisfaction and lower perceived stress and negative feelings.
Significantly, the study found that high school girls in particular reported feeling significantly worse and more stressed compared to boys. They also expressed less satisfaction in their lives and, as a result, felt much less self-compassionate.
The researchers explained that the girls “reported being more self-judging, feeling more isolated and having more difficulty maintaining a balanced perspective in the midst of challenging circumstances.” The research correlates with the high depression rates found in adolescent females compared to males as well as lower self-compassion among adult women compared to men.
A second study focused more on causality by investigating how both self-compassion and self-esteem might relate to wellbeing over time. The researchers surveyed over 2,000 ninth graders in Australia, measuring their self-esteem, self-compassion and Mental Health. The researchers then re-evaluated the same students a year later by asking similar questions.
High self-compassion improved mental health
The researchers found that high levels of self-compassion appeared to protect against the harmful effects of low self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem and low self-compassion showed reduced mental Health after a year, whereas high self-compassion appeared to protect against this drop in mental health.
The results show that “self-compassion, unlike self-esteem, would allow the students to accept their shortcomings with kindness, rather than judging themselves or avoiding their flaws.” The study authors explain that “self-compassion could be a key to teens maintaining a healthy, balanced view of themselves and their lives.”
Master Oh highlights the importance of helping young people have a positive mind for future health and wellbeing. “Through self-compassion, young people can open their hearts and learn empathy for others, helping them to develop positive relationships in life, which are the key to happiness and wellbeing.”
Master Oh is a London based energy healer and natural health practitioner with over 25 years’ experience working with the original energy that creates life, which is Qi Energy. Having himself suffered and overcome chronic issues at an early age, he has dedicated his life to sharing his healing method with the world.
He has opened Qi centres in Australia, America and in Europe and is constantly looking to help more people live free from physical, emotional and mental pain. Master Oh believes that by developing our innate good-hearted, generous and compassionate nature we can not only bring health and happiness into our lives, but also bring peace and harmony into our world.
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