Increase your wellbeing by turning towards your suffering with kindness

Mindful Self-Compassion 5 day Intensive

During my trip to the US from Feb-March 2014 where I travelled from Seattle to San Diego.  I got to meet Steve Hickman with Shamash in San Diego at the Centre for Mindfulness there.  Steve had written the forward to Shamash’s book ‘Mindfulness for Dummies’.  During their catch up they came up with the idea to run a Mindful Self-Compassion workshop in London.  16 months later it happened.  25 people came together (from England, Israel, California, Philippines, Ireland, South Africa and Dubai)  for the 5 day intensive in Chigwell, Essex with teachers Steve Hickman and Michelle Becker from San Diego.  Also with Vanessa Hope assistant teacher from Bangor.  I was asked to help with the organisation and managing of the course this week at the Domus Mariae, an annexe of Chigwell Convent, in Essex. IMG_1551

I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time away from my daily routine practicing self-compassion and having some time out to just be.  When we slow down, we can catch up with ourselves and in the long run achieve so much more.  IMG_1533

Kristen Neff and Chris Germer have been researching self-compassion for the last 10 years and co-developed the Mindful Self-Compassion programme.  Kristen Neff defines self-compassion as:  “When we suffer, caring for ourselves as we would care for someone we truly love.  Self-compassion includes self-kindness, a sense of common humanity and, mindfulness.” (2003) images

The research on self-compassion shows:

  • Reductions in: anxiety, depression, stress, rumination, perfectionism, body shame, fear of failure.
  • Increases in: life satisfaction, happiness, self-confidence, optimism, curiosity, creativity, gratitude.

The Mindful Self-Compassion Programme (MSC) is an 8 week workshop that I am completing as a 5 day intensive.  It is designed to explicitly teach skills of self-compassion.  It uses meditation, informal practice, group discussion and homework exercises.

Randomised clinical trial of MSC with intervention group vs wait-list control group showed:

  • Experimental group had significantly more change in self-compassion, mindfulness, compassion for others, depression, anxiety, stress, avoidance, life satisfaction.
  • Changes in self-compassion predict improved outcomes.
  • All well-being gains maintained over time.
  • Degree of formal and informal self-compassion practice both related to gains in self-compassion.

The key points of MSC are:

  • Self-compassion gives us the safety needed to turn toward and accept painful feelings so they can heal.
  • We give ourselves compassion not to feel better but because we feel pain.

Things for you to explore:

An invitation for you to find out your self-compassion score here

Try out a guided meditation with Kristen and or Chris Germer.

Watch Kristen Neff’s Ted Talk – 

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2 thoughts on “Increase your wellbeing by turning towards your suffering with kindness

  1. yehudi7 says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Although resilience receives more attention, I think that self-compassion is crucial to long-term wellbeing.

  2. Harpal says:

    Hello Yehudi, self-compassion is a way of building our resilience.

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