If you’re like most people, you might think self-compassion is a nice soft idea with little to do with the quality of your life or career. But science shows that self-compassion is much more than a bubble bath. Scientists are finding that it makes a big difference in employee well-being.

Scientists are discovering that if you don’t like yourself, you won’t be motivated to excel to your full potential. Studies show that self-judgment, self-criticism and self-neglect build barriers to job engagement, motivation and career advancement.

Think of yourself as a two-lane highway with an outside lane and an inside lane. Most people spend the majority of time in the “outside lane”—managing the conditions of their lives, paying less attention to the “inside lane”—what’s going on inside. Scientists have discovered that, when we spend all of our time in the outside lane, we can rust out, breakdown or burn out. But the more we take a few minutes to step inside with self-compassion during the workday, it fuels our clarity, engagement, energy, productivity and the trajectory of our careers.

A team of Berkeley researchers recently published a paper found that 20-seconds of what they call a daily self-compassion “micropractice” is associated with increased self-compassion, emotional well-being and reduced stress. The simple practice of placing your hands over your heart and belly while thinking kind thoughts to yourself can make a huge difference in your well-being. The more frequently we practice this micropractice, the greater the benefits.

Another form of self-compassion is self-care is taking time out to treat ourselves with kindness and respect. When employees treat themselves to short breaks—five minutes or less—they benefit from these energy management strategies. Microbreaks can be as simple as stretching, walking up and down stairs, gazing out a window at nature, snacking or having a five-minute mindful meditation. The study concludes that after taking microbreaks, employees have higher energy, greater work engagement and lower fatigue.