Psychologist featured in Redbook

High self-esteem has long been touted by psychologists as the key to happiness and success. But these days, experts are questioning self-esteem's status as a personal cure-allnoting that it's hard to acquire, even harder to hang on to, and can lead to arrogance and narcissism. What does create a healthy, resilient psyche, it turns out, is self-compassion. When things go badly, a be-kind-to-yourself mind-set makes you feel less anxious, depressed, and angry, and helps you recover more quickly from setbacks, according to groundbreaking research from Duke University. Best of all, self-compassion is easy to develop. Here's how. Rushing through or denying your bad feelings won't make them go away, but wallowing isn't healthy, either. Mindful acceptancethat is, truly feeling your feelingsallows you to face your pain and then move on. "If you get mentally lost in blaming yourself or others, you prolong your suffering," notes psychology professor Kristin Neff, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin. "But if you simply allow yourself to feel the emotion and let it run its coursewhich is often a wave that builds and tapers offit dissipates much more quickly."

3 Steps to a Happier You
(October 2007)