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Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing: an 8 week training

A good friend & I have just been sorting out the practical details of running an 8 week course together on "Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing", starting in January.  Some aspects still need to be tweaked, but the basic publicity information runs like this:

"If you want others to be happy, practise compassion.  If you want to be happy, practise compassion."   Dalai Lama

    "Wisdom, compassion, & courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."    Confucius

Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (4th post): compassion & implementation intentions

Ch.11: Emotions

“ Healthy living has benefits hugely greater than anything medicine can deliver. ” - Bandolier 136, Oxford evidence-based medicine website

What are emotions?  Emotions as source of information, of energy/activation, of signalling.  Emotional regulation.  Self-distancing & self-immersion.  Focusing.  Rescripting.  Imagery.

Reappraisal training can help hugely in coping with difficult experiences

Reappraisal (changing the meaning we give to experiences) has been repeatedly shown to be one of the most effective ways we have to regulate our emotions.  It's one of the star components of effective emotion-regulation, coping-skill toolkits ... and it's important to realise that these toolkits can be very helpful (De Castella, 2017).  Reappraisal is important across a variety of difficult states ... depression (Cheng, 2017), anxiety (Goldin, 2017), anger, interpersonal conflict, minor hassles (Richardson, 2017), and major life difficulties.

Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (3rd post): embodied values

I have already written a couple of blog posts "Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (1st post): mindfulness & naming" and "Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (2nd post): touch & affectionate releasing" where we have taken our attention inwards, noting & naming our internal state/our internal weather, and responding to this inner state with settling touch, self-compassion & relaxation.  These posts have introduced nine suggestions that potentially upgrade a more standard breathing space practice.

Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (2nd post): touch & affectionate releasing

I recently wrote a blog post "Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (1st post): mindfulness & naming" where I commented that if the thousands of recent research papers on mindfulness, emotion regulation & related subjects couldn't help us improve on the helpfulness of brief meditation practices, then science hasn't been doing its job adequately.  I went on to describe five possible upgrades saying that, if you're interested in trying out these ideas, maybe just explore a few at a time.  In this post I mention a further four upgrade options.  As with the first five suggestions, build up step by step, experimenting with what works well for you personally.

Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (1st post): mindfulness & naming

Many forms of stress management & meditation teach brief "breathing space" exercises that can be used to bring oneself into the present in a variety of helpful ways.  These seem to have been particularly popularised by the 3 minute breathing space exercise (3MBS) taught in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  Zindel Segal (one of MBCT's developers) describes the development of this Widen-Narrow-Widen attentional sequence in this short online article.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - aspects of self-compassion

I've woken early.  Lying here I feel an unfamiliar hollow pressure in my gut.  What is this?  Fear?  Anxiety? Tension?  "Tense apprehension" seems to fit.  I'm lying here in the early hours of the morning, a hollow tense apprehension in my belly.  And it isn't surprising.  Pretty normal in fact as I move closer & closer to major surgery.  Consciously.  By my own decision.  On this journey, travelling down the "kidney donation river", I can hear the roar of the approaching rapids.  Surgery soon.  It's a pretty standard, basic, healthy response to tense a bit as I move towards the crux, possibly the most intense section of this "donation river".  And I don't have to tighten the rest of my body around the belly apprehension.  I can let go, loosen in my arms, my face.  It's OK. Nothing to do right now.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - goals and journey

I'm due to donate a kidney soon, and I have been writing about what's involved - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering", "Kidney donation: what are the risks?" and "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central".  Primarily these posts are for other donors, but aspects of what I write are also relevant for facing challenges more generally as well.

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