Healthy Body

How these science-backed practices can improve mental health

“Mindfulness” and “self-compassion” are now buzzwords for self-improvement. But in fact, a growing body of research shows these practices can lead to real mental health benefits. This research — ongoing, voluminous, and worldwide — clearly shows how and why these two practices work.

One effective way to cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion is through meditation.

For more than 20 years, as a clinical psychologist, research scientist, and educator, I taught meditation to students and clinical patients, and took a deep dive into the research literature. My recent book, The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head, highlights much of that research.

I learned even more when I evaluated mental health programs and psychology classes that train participants in mindfulness and compassion-based techniques.

Defining mindfulness and self-compassion

Mindfulness means purposefully paying attention to the present moment with an

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