Self-Compassion and Heart Disease
How Self-Compassion Can Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Research done by Health Psychology Journal shows that heart disease in women can be reduced if a woman is kinder and more compassionate to herself. Women who practiced self-compassion were found to have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, regardless of other common factors including age, insulin levels, and cholesterol levels.
The amount of stress women put on themselves play a role in affecting the cardiovascular health but when you practice self-compassion, you reduce the level of stress you subject your body to.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is the ability to see the world through kind eyes. It's being open, accepting of yourself, and recognizing that self-reflection can be an opportunity for your own growth. Self-compassion is not about being perfect or always nice, it's about allowing yourself to be exactly who you are in this moment while also recognizing that you're not alone. It enables us to recognize that, like everyone else on the planet, we, too, deserve kindness and understanding.
The beauty of self-compassion (and why we believe it's so important) is that it can be practiced by anyone – regardless of age, culture, background, or status – at any moment in time.
This is particularly important for women because we tend to lack self-compassion for being overly critical toward ourselves and those around us. A lot of times, this is due to societal pressures that have become engrained in our customs and traditions.
We can't expect those around us to be open with compassion if we're not willing to extend the same courtesy to ourselves. This often leaves women feeling alone and isolated.
How to Practice Kindness Towards Yourself
Being kinder to yourself is one proven way on how to lower your risk of heart disease. While we’re big supporter of self-compassion, it's also important to recognize that it's something you have to work on. It's easy to fall into the trap of kindness and understanding toward others while still being overly critical towards yourself, so here are some tips on how you can be kinder to yourself today:
• Practice self-compassion. It's as simple as that – just practice being kind to yourself. If you're having a bad day, say it out loud: "I'm having a bad day." Remind yourself that you are not alone and that everyone goes through low moments in life – even those who we perceive as perfect. People are generally more critical of themselves than they are towards others, so recognize that it's okay to be human.
• Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing ourselves to others often leads us down the path of feeling we fall short in some capacity, whether it's our career or social life. It can also lead us to compare our worst moments with other people's highlights. Don’t get caught up in "what ifs" and feelings of unworthiness. Recognize that comparison is rooted from envy or jealousy, not admiration.
• Take experiences as ways to learn. Mistakes happen, and they don’t make you any less worthy of love. Every experience allows you grow and learn something new. If you make a mistake, don’t take it to heart. Instead, think of what this experience is teaching you and how you can use it to improve moving forward.
• Forget about everyone else. Many times, we tend to fixate on what people are thinking about us. In reality, people are too wrapped up in their own lives to even pay attention to anyone else’s. Life is too short to live inauthentically. Live your life the way you want to!
Women with heart diseases can reduce the effects they experience by showing more love and care towards themselves as well. Celebrate Philippine heart month with us and take better care of your heart by practicing self-compassion. At the end of the day, the gentler we are with ourselves, the less stress we put our minds through. We hope you show yourself a little more kindness moving forward!
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