‘Self-compassion’ may be helpful after divorce

Divorce can be an emotional and painful process, even for months or years after it’s “over.” Researchers say they have found a new tool that may help people with the aftermath of a divorce: self-compassion.

But what exactly defines self-compassion? Researchers say it’s a combination of being kind to oneself, recognizing common humanity and letting painful emotions pass, according to a recent article in USA Today.

If people can think of their losses as part of their overall life experience and be less judgmental of themselves, it can make a big difference.

A Kansas divorce lawyer says that those with more self-compassion are able to more successfully recover from a divorce. The tiny study, which took a look at 38 men and 67 women who had divorced their partners within the prior three or four months after at least 13 years of marriage, shows that self-compassion tends to predict good outcomes.

That characteristic proved as or more important than optimism, ease with relationships, and self-esteem, the USA Today article says. Experts note that it’s not easy for people to abruptly change and decide to be more compassionate toward themselves – or less anxious about situations – but people can try to accept their feelings without so much judgment. It can help them feel less lonely and anxious.

People should not attempt to change their personalities, experts in the field say, but they can try to be less hard on themselves.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona, will be featured in an upcoming issue of the journal “Psychological Science.”

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