Researchers are looking into a new area of psychological research - self-compassion. A New York Times article states that "The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight."
Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas, Austin, believes that our society has taught us to be hard on ourselves. Her research has shown that many people fear that if they aren't hard on themselves they'll become self-indulgent. Researchers believe that the key to successful diets may be self-compassion rather than self-discipline and deprivation.