why mindfulness and self-compassion?
Mindfulness and self-compassion are qualities that help us live with greater clarity, calmness and kindness.
Through cultivating these qualities we are able to make wiser choices about how we respond to life's joys and challenges.
Put simply mindfulness is about bringing our attending to our present-moment experience in a non-judgemental way. Through mindfulness we can learn to bring certain attitudes to our attention (e.g. curiosity, acceptance, non-striving) so that we can hold our experiences - both pleasant and unpleasant - in a gentle, open balanced awareness.
Self-compassion enables us to hold our experiences in a gentle, kind awareness so that we can open to our experience - especially those that are more challenging - with a balanced, kind attention rather than feeling overwhelmed or judging ourselves harshly for them.
Mindfulness and self-compassion practices help us learn to:
pay attention to our present-moment experiences (our surroundings, sensations, thoughts and feelings), holding them in a kind and non-judgmental awareness.
become aware of our habits and tendencies - noticing which help or hinder our sense of wellbeing.
hold both pleasant and challenging experiences in a balanced awareness - not exaggerating them, nor pushing them away.
Whilst we initially learn these techniques through formal practices or meditations, we then learn to take these skills out into our everyday lives. As we strengthen our ability to be with experiences with greater calm and clarity, we are more able to respond to situations wisely rather than react to them automatically.
benefits of mindfulness
Research* suggests that regular practice of mindfulness and self-compassion techniques can help:
lower symptoms of stress
improve focus and concentration
increase a sense of gratitude and awareness of life's joys
increase emotional resilience to life's challenges
increase our sense of kindness towards ourselves and others
* research based on participants of 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Congnitive Therapy (MBCT) courses.