Self-compassion – a timely and effective resilience booster

Mindful practice of self-compassion can boost employee resilience1 . It’s shown to improve life and job satisfaction, optimism, social connectedness and emotional resilience. Self-compassionate people are also more likely to reach out for help if needed2 .

The good news is the art of self-compassion is learnable and offers the most benefit during periods of acute or chronic periods of stress3. With 40% of Australian adults currently experiencing high levels of anxiety (ABS, 2020), promoting self-compassion is an effective and valuable tool to include in any current corporate wellbeing strategy. The biggest hurdle to success seems to be people’s perception it’s ‘fluffy’ so it’s important to communicate effectively and recognise the evidence that it works when launching a program.

From a financial perspective, poor employee emotional wellbeing costs organisations almost double that of poor physical wellbeing4. As such it makes business sense to support and invest in employee mental wellbeing during this COVID period of ongoing change and uncertainty. You can estimate the emotional cost of wellbeing to your organisation here.

What is self-compassion?

It’s being kind to yourself and taking the time to understand your needs in the moment and honouring them.

It’s cutting yourself a break when you make a mistake in knowledge that we all make mistakes. It’s how we learn!

It’s about letting guilt go.

It’s about knowing when you’re not okay and taking time to self-sooth or reach out for help if needed.

Most of all, it’s not easy and doesn’t come naturally to most of us and hence why we need to make it a mindful practice.

Our natural bias is toward being self-critical. When resilience levels are high we can usually tolerate some harsh self-talk and sometimes even use it to our advantage but when resilience is low, the negative talk can quickly spiral out of productive balance. We start to carry guilt, cast blame, berate and compare ourselves and quickly spiral into self-doubt and low self-esteem. Needless to say, the ongoing effect is to be less productive and further drain our already exhausted resilience reserves.

How to practice self-compassion

Professor Kristin Neff, a leading author and academic of self-compassion identifies 3 core components of the practice

Self-kindness – avoid self-criticism and judgement and show yourself warmth, kindness and understanding when experiencing feelings of pain or failure. Imagine you are your own best and most supportive friend.

Common humanity – understand that your feelings of failure and suffering are common to all and a normal part of life. You are not alone, you are human.

Mindfulness – take time to be aware and accept how you are feeling in the moment without exaggeration and with warmth. It enables us to become self-aware and accepting of more difficult feelings. It allows us to take action to self-sooth and reach out for help when needed.


Creating a self-compassionate team mindset.

Below are effective and evidence based ways to help your teams be more self-compassionate during periods of stress.

1. Engage, communicate, educate, reward and value the practice of self-compassion in your organisation

At HealthChase we do this through game-based programs that reward for gaining understanding, practicing mindfulness, self-awareness and for actioning personal and team self-care strategies.

2. Lead by example. Leaders that demonstrate mindfulness, self-awareness and self-compassion not only demonstrate more positive relationships with their teams but is also a predictor of how teams value these qualities5.

Teamwork based Challenges with a large and visible presence helps peer-to-peer learning, connections and engagement. We do this via social Banter, Photo and Video boards that open conversation around mental wellbeing and promotes self-compassion actions including reaching out for help when needed.

3. Develop people listening skills. People listeners note the emotions and feelings of people when listening and in turn become more self-compassionate.

Through on-line Games we create scenarios that enable, encourage and reward the right conversations, expression of emotion and people listening skills. We get people sharing and communicating.


In Summary

Self-compassion can be an effective way to help manage stress, improve mental health, boost resilience and enhance employee performance. It’s a learnable behaviour that can have a big impact during sustained periods of uncertainty, change, isolation and stress. Some people may consider this approach ‘fluffy’ but in fact the evidence is solid. It is shown to enhance motivation, improve relationships and boost resilience levels.


HealthChase engage and connect teams to improve mental wellbeing and resilience through Game based programs.