Mindfulness is living with the awareness to experience every moment in the present without judgement.
Mindfulness has taken off as a useful practice; as a key to discovering our basic goodness, our inherent bravery, openness, and gentleness.
Mindfullness has has three qualities:
- Inquiry: taking an interest in whatever our experience may be; if we feel some emotional suffering that is part of it.
- Nowness: connecting with the present moment; being present and including for everything that we are.
- Basic goodness: we are basically whole, fundamentally, gentleness, fearlessness and intelligence... our essential self.
Steve Hickman, Executive Director of The Centre for Mindfulness at University of California, San Diego explains the basics of mindfulness and its benefits:
What does research tell us about Mindfulness?
Research has confirmed that a mindfulness practice can improve mental and physical well-being and decision-making. It encourages us to be increasingly present and effective, drawing on your own natural capacities and abilities. However, to be authentic we must also learn to embrace the very human experiences of confusion, doubt, and fear, as well as a sense of humor.
What is Compassion?
Compassion is the heartfelt desire to alleviate someone else’s difficulties. We feel it in our heart when we see our family or friends going through a tough time.
What is Mindful Self-Compassion?
MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion, providing a powerful tool for emotional resilience. Mindfulness is the first step in emotional healing—being able to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, confusion) with a spirit of openness and curiosity.
Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy, and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we're hurting.
Research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional wellbeing. It boosts happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and can even help maintain healthy lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. Being both mindful and compassionate leads to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives.
MSC can be learned by anyone. It’s the practice of repeatedly evoking goodwill toward ourselves, especially when we’re suffering—cultivating the same desire that all living beings have to live happily and free from suffering.
Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention whenever you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in the direction of our attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.
What can I learn from practicing Mindful Self-Compassion?
- How to stop being so hard on yourself
- How to handle difficult emotions with greater ease
- How to motivate yourself with encouragement rather than criticism
- How to transform difficult relationships, both old and new
- Mindfulness and self-compassion practices for home and everyday life
- The theory and research behind mindful self-compassion
- How to become your own best teacher