I found this piece in The Times today really interesting. It describes how psychologists at UCL have found that people respond well to the sounds of their own voices comforting child avatars! When the voices are played back to themselves it can positively affect their mental wellbeing. The jury is out but the report says that they are now exploring whether this can help depression.
One of the things that struck me was what Dr. Caroline Falconer (who led the study) said: “Being kind to oneself is an alien concept in western culture.” I know that much of my self-talk is self-critical so I’ll try harder to focus on being more aware of this in future!
But this also links to the findings of some research I am doing with Hilary Scarlett which shows that leaders are getting lots of benefit from learning about emotional regulation and the practice of mindfulness. Essentially the feedback we are getting is that being more aware of your thinking and emotions can help you manage your anxieties, concerns etc and therefore become more effective at helping others through change.
The Times article adds another thought to this because one of the practices of mindfulness is to develop compassionate thoughts for oneself and others. I know that there are sceptics and cynics out there but I think that the science is beginning to confirm what many Eastern philosophers have known for years. Cultivating more self-awareness is key to providing better health, happiness and effective leadership.