Forgive yourself if you want to live longer, scientists say
Those lacking ‘self-compassion’ get stressed more easily and let it affect them over a longer period of time – leading to serious health problems
Scientists and doctors have long said there is a very close link between a person’s ability to deal with stress and their long-term health.
Usually we are tempted to blame this on external factors – a difficult relationship, pressures at work or pure rage at the inadequacies of public transport.
Yet for the first time a group of researchers in New York have discovered that a large part of this stress can be put down to “self-compassion” or, as they put it, whether you are willing to “cut yourself some slack”.
The team from Brandeis University suggested that a capacity for self-forgiveness would lead people not to blame themselves for stress factors beyond their control, ultimately translating into a longer and happier life.
To test this, they carried out an experiment involving 41 healthy young adults who were asked to endure an unspecified “standard laboratory stressor” (listening to Justin Bieber, we speculate), and have their stress levels measured before and after over two days.
Ahead of the study, each participant was surveyed on their responses 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”.
On the first day, the scientists said, those with higher self-compassion “exhibited significantly lower stress responses… even when controlling for self-esteem, depressive symptoms, demographic factors, and distress”.
Even more surprising was the second day’s results – the test subjects with low self-compassion were found to exhibit higher “baseline” stress levels (measured before they were subjected to something annoying) than they had the day before.
This suggested that not only do people lacking self-forgiveness get more stressed in the first place, but they also hold onto that stress for longer – a trait which puts them at risk of long term health problems.
Stress levels were measured by testing concentrations of an inflammatory agent known to be linked to stress, interleukin-6 (IL-6).
“These findings suggest that self-compassion may serve as a protective factor against stress-induced inflammation and inflammation-related disease,” the study said. Psychological stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s if it is allowed to get out of control.
The team’s findings were published in the March edition of the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...