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Mindful Compassion in a Time of Fear



Please join Judy Clarke and Jill Goldsmith for a short (free) zoom session offering mindfulness tools to work with the fear and anxiety many of us are experiencing.

Wednesdays, 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm on zoom. Please email goldsmithclarke@gmail.com to reserve your space and to receive a link for the class. You can read more about Judy and Jill at www.goldsmithclarke.com.


The format will be a short discussion of the topic, followed by a meditation practice on the topic.


Last week we discussed working with difficult emotions and did a short mindfulness meditation practice exploring how to work with our difficult emotions skillfully.


This week we will talk about the anxiety and fear change can cause us to experience, followed by a short mindfulness meditation on working with any anxiety we may feel about the changes going on right now in our lives.


It seems as though there is little enough we can do right now for each other. We are physically separated and all our lives are turned upside down. I have been hearing from many clients about the fear and anxiety they feel, and they are hearing the same things from their employees and co-workers. In talking with my partner, Judy Clarke, we realized there is something we can offer: we are both mindful self-compassion teachers and we can offer short mindfulness sessions for anyone who wants to sign up (no charge!). We hope you can join us!


More about Self-Compassion…


The Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course Judy and Jill teach is an empirically-supported, 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding. Here is a link to the Center for MSC, where you can explore the topic more thoroughly: https://centerformsc.org.


Our short zoom sessions on Wednesday evenings will not be Mindful Self-Compassion – but they will be based on it. We are offering some of our own practices as well.


Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.


For example:


Science of Self-Compassion


One of the most consistent findings in the research literature is that greater self-compassion is linked to less anxiety and depression. In fact, a recent meta-analysis (MacBeth & Gumley, 2012) found a large effect size when examining the link between self-compassion and psychopathology across 20 studies.


Gilbert and Irons (2005) suggest that self-compassion deactivates the threat system associated with feelings of insecure attachment, defensiveness and autonomic arousal) and activates the self-soothing system (associated with feelings of secure attachment, safety, and the oxytocin-opiate system). In support of this proposition, Rockcliff, Gilbert, McEwan, Lightman, and Glover (2008) found that giving individuals a brief self-compassion exercise (this involved generating a visual image of an ideally compassionate figure sending oneself unconditional love an acceptance) lowered their levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


Research findings so far suggest that self-compassion may be a stronger predictor of depression, happiness, life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing than mindfulness alone.


Self-compassion has also been shown to mitigate the effect of negative life events on emotional functioning in general. For instance, a series of studies by Leary, Tate, Adams, Allen, and Hancock (2007) investigated the way that self-compassionate people deal with negative self- relevant thoughts or life events. One study used experience-sampling techniques, asking participants to report about any difficulties they were having over a 20-day period. Individuals with higher levels of self-compassion had more perspective on their problems and were less likely to feel isolated by them, e.g., they were more likely to feel that their struggles weren’t any worse than what lots of other people go through. The researchers also found that priming self-compassion helped participants to take responsibility for their role in past negative events without experiencing as much negative affect as those in a control condition.


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