Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Powerful Tools for your Life & Leadership Toolbox
Some days do you have less focus than you would like?
Life is loaded with distractions. Sometimes we get to what’s important – and sometimes we don’t. Without creating “breathing space,” we can find ourselves drifting or overwhelmed, rather than present and balanced.
Don’t just wait for inspiration. Consider including mindfulness at the top of your life and leadership toolbox. Mindfulness can power up self-awareness, calm, productivity and focus, as evidenced in numerous research studies. Practicing mindfulness trains the mind, empowering concentration and the capacity to relate more effectively to what’s happening right now.
These potent effects require much less time than most people imagine – just minutes a day of practice can have benefits – observe Daniel Goleman, PhD, and Richard J. Davidson, PhD in their book, Altered Traits.
The powerful value of mindfulness has garnered broad acceptance across academia and workplaces – from Google to the U.S. Army. Meditation curricula now show up in numerous organizational toolboxes. More than 6800 scientific articles have been written on meditation and the number is rapidly mounting (Goleman & Davidson, 2017).
One study conducted by leading meditation researchers, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson, at a bio-tech startup company, asked participants to use the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) daily for 30 minutes daily during an 8-week period. Their findings showed remarkable changes in regions of the brain related to positive emotions and energy (Goleman & Davidson, 2017; Salzburg, 2014).
How are mindfulness and self-compassion connected?
According to psychologists, Rick Warren, Elke Smeets and Kristin Neff (2016), mindfulness is one of the key components of self-compassion. Self-compassion skills, treating ourselves with care and kindness even in challenging situations, can be learned, helping us be aware of our experiences in a balanced way that recognizes thoughts and emotions, but doesn’t dwell on or exaggerate them (Warren, Smeets & Neff, 2016).
“You come to realize that thoughts come and go of their own accord; that you are not your thoughts… Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself” (Williams & Penman, 2011).
Mindfulness can be practiced for moments or longer periods. We can intentionally decide where to focus attention. When the mind wanders (which it always does), we can gently bring it back.