February 9th, 2019| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


“Soothing Your Heart and Feeling Connected: A New Experimental Paradigm to Study the Benefits of Self-Compassion” in Clinical Psychological Science, by researchers from University of Exeter, University of Oxford (U.K.). and Otto-von-Guericke University (Germany), was remarkable article that came out recently.

Thinking kind thoughts has tangible health benefits, apparently.

The researchers studied 135 healthy subjects in various groups. Those who were first instructed to be kind to themselves not only reported feeling more self-compassion (and connection with others), but also demonstrated a physical response consistent with feeling relaxed and safe: heart rates and skin conductance went down (signs of reduced arousal), and heart rate variability (in length of time between heartbeats) went up (a healthy sign of adaptability).

Others who were instructed to be critical of themselves manifested the opposite: increased heart rate, heart rates variation and skin conductance and a decreased heart rate variability.

A psychophysiological response pattern of reduced arousal (reduced heart rate and skin conductance) and increased parasympathetic activation (increased heart rate variability) were unique to the self-compassion conditions.”

Said first author, Hans Kirschner:

These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing.”

And, added senior author Anke Karl:

Our study is helping us understand the mechanism of how being kind to yourself when things go wrong could be beneficial in psychological treatments. By switching off our threat response, we boost our immune systems and give ourselves the best chance of healing. We hope future research can use our method to investigate this in people with mental health problems such as recurrent depression.”

Another author, Willem Kuyken, concluded:

My sense is that for people prone to depression, meeting their negative thoughts and feelings with compassion is a radically different approach that is quite transformative for many people.”

All that’s well and good: Be kind to yourself!

But there is another sort of kindness that the Bible highly recommends:

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

This kindness is actually a fruit of the Holy Spirit that dwells in each believer in Christ:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22–23

Here is the exhortation again:

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other …
Ephesians 4:32a

But notice the rest of the verse:

… just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32b

The kindness that Christians are to display is to reflect the kindness of God in forgiving believers in Christ of their sins.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
He saved us … according to His mercy.
Titus 3:4–5

In fact, forgiven believers, saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our only God and Savior, continue for ever to reflect the kindness of God—even in the ages to come and even in the heavenly places!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
… and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
so that in the ages to come He might display the surpassing riches of His grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4–7

So let’s “kindly” reflect a kind God—here and now!

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