by Erica Murphy, blogger
Do you feel guilty taking a Friday afternoon to get a manicure? Is your wallet yelling at you for purchasing that beautiful lace tank top? Can you enjoy that hyped-up college basketball game knowing that calculus homework is waiting?
Well, what would you say if we told you all of these indulgences were necessities? Is it possible that spoiling yourself every now and then actually improves the brains ability to function?
According to a study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, self-compassion increases psychological mental health. Self-compassion includes being kind to yourself in times of pain and failure and thinking about your experiences as part of a bigger picture. The study, which involved more than 170 undergraduates, had each participant answer a series of tests and surveys to judge their level of self-compassion.
Researchers concluded that happiness and optimism, which are key factors in mental health, were closely associated with self-compassion. The study showed that participants who handle their emotions and cope with failure are the happiest and therefore, the most self-compassionate.
Self-compassion was also linked to modesty and wisdom; research found that people who maintain and honest view of themselves are more likely to view their lives in a positive light. This causes less mental stress because the person knows perfection is unrealistic.
Studies also associate self-compassion with taking initiative. Just because a person knows who they are and isn’t overly arrogant doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve. This improvement could be professionally, or personally. It simply must involve making changes for a more productive and fulfilling life, according to the study.
In terms of the NEO five personality traits, the study determined that self-compassion had the strongest indirect relation with neuroticism. People with higher levels of self-compassion had lower levels of neuroticism and visa versa.
While it may seem that SU students love themselves enough already, it may be a false read. All you need is to take some time and wind down. Feel positive about those upcoming midterms, believe in your abilities, and try not to wash your hands seven times before eating an M&M. Getting your mental health on track will make spring break that much more enjoyable. So go ahead—splurge a little!