Washington: Self-compassion and the ability to let painful emotions pass helps heal post divorce blues, a new study suggests. This trait can promote resilience and positive outcomes in the face of divorce, says University of Arizona psychologist David A Sbarra, who led the study with Hillary L Smith and Matthias R Mehl.

“The surprising part here is that when we look at a bunch of positive characteristics (self-esteem, resistance to depression, optimism, or ease with relationships), this one characteristic -self-compassion - uniquely predicts good outcomes,” adds Sbarra.

Self-compassion enables some people to move through divorce without wallowing in self pity or helplessness while others get mired in ill will and recriminations.

These findings have implications for helping people learn to weather break-ups in better spirits, reports the journal Psychological Science.

The study involved 105 people, 38 men and 67 women, with a mean age of 40 years.

They'd been married for over 13 years and divorced since three to four months on an average, according to an Arizona statement.

On the first visit, participants were asked to think about their former partner for 30 seconds and then talk for four minutes about their feelings and thoughts related to the separation.

Four trained coders listened to the audio files and rated the participants levels of self-compassion, using a standard measure of the construct.

At the initial visit, three months later, and then after either six or nine months, participants reported on their adjustment to the divorce.

As expected, people with high levels of self-compassion at the start both recovered faster and were doing better after a period of months.