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Q & A with Dr. B. – How does self-compassion improve health?

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this website, my book, and the Community Education course I teach at the College of Marin, is to teach people how to live a vibrant, meaningful life through the cultivation of self-empowerment and self-efficacy. In this weekly Q&A column, I post questions from students and from people who attend my presentations along with my answers.

Here is this week’s question:

QUESTION: In your book you have a chapter on self-acceptance and another chapter on self-compassion. How does self-compassion improve health?

ANSWER:  For those of us living with challenging and sometimes debilitating chronic medical conditions, it is all too easy to fall back into being angry or frustrated with bodily malfunction. Although this is perfectly natural and understandable, it actually adds to bodily stress, which commonly worsens the very bodily malfunction that led to the anger or frustration in the first place. In this situation, it is important to learn how to self-soothe. Just the way a loving mother soothes her baby when it cries, we need to cultivate the habit of extending loving compassion to ourselves for the suffering we experience whenever the body malfunctions.

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