Self-compassion, a better alternative to rumination than distraction as a response to negative mood

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Self-compassion, a better alternative to rumination than distraction as a response to negative mood

Self-compassion – having a healthy, mindful and kind self-attitude – may be a better way to cope with negative experiences than distraction. This was tested in 152 undergraduates who underwent a negative mood induction and then completed either a self-compassionate writing task or a distraction task. Results showed that participants who wrote self-compassionately experienced increases in positive affect while participants who distracted experienced reductions in positive affect. Both groups significantly reduced in negative affect; however, there was no significant difference between them. An interaction was found between rumination and time, demonstrating that high ruminators experienced greater reduction of sadness than low ruminators. The current findings demonstrate greater short-term benefits of approaching a negative mood using self-compassion compared to distraction and results are discussed in the context of the broaden and build theory of positive emotions.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2015 Vol. 10, No. 5, 447–457

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