Self-Compassion and Body Image

A critical link between self-compassion and body image involves taking a compassionate approach to one’s body and may be a useful strategy for overcoming some body-related challenges women athletes experience in sport. A compassionate approach to the body can help improve the positive body image of athletes in a competitive sport environment. Body self-compassion allows one to acknowledge negative feelings towards the body without overidentifying with them, which reflects a key component of self-compassion; mindfulness (Berry et al., 2010).

Body self-compassion is extending kindness and nonjudgmental attitudes to the body, despite perceived physical imperfections and limitations (Berry et al., 2010).

Three essential structures:


Appreciating one’s unique body: Choosing to appreciate body uniqueness, rather than being self-critical (Berry et al., 2010).

Common Humanity

Engaging in less social comparison: Reduced social comparison is inherent to self-compassion (Neff, 2003).


Taking ownership of one’s body: Observing thoughts and feelings as they are, opposed to suppressing or exaggerating them (Neff, 2020).

A Fourth Facilitating Structure: The importance of others

Key Findings

Body self-compassion has the potential to:

More compassionate body experiences have been linked with:



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