Mindful Spotlight

December - Compassion

Compassion is sympathizing and showing concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, taking steps to ease another’s distress and practicing kindness and consideration for others unfortunate circumstances. Research has shown when we demonstrate compassion, there is a calming effect on our body. Our heart rate slows down and our brains secrete Oxytocin - we feel better. We connect with a sense of purpose. Studies have also shown that compassion is contagious – so lead by example!

  • “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

    ~ Maya Angelou

  • “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive."

    ~ Dalai Lama

  • “True compassion means not only feeling another's pain but also being moved to help relieve it.”

    ~ Daniel Goleman

  • “"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

    ~ Winston Churchill

  • “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

    ~ Nelson Mandela

  • “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”

    ~ Brene Brown

  • “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

    ~ Plato

  • “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

    ~ Anne Frank

  • “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

    ~ Dalai Lama

  • “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

    ~ Leo Buscaglia




Books

Compassion

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The Compassionate Mind: A New Approach to Life's Challenges by Paul Gilbert Ph.D

In societies that encourage us to compete with each other, compassion is often seen as a weakness. Striving to get ahead, self-criticism, fear, and hostility toward others seem to come more naturally to us. Yet researchers have found that developing kindness and compassion for ourselves and others builds our confidence, helps us create meaningful, caring relationships, lowers anxiety and hostility, and promotes physical and mental health.

Mindful Compassion: How the Science of Compassion Can Help You Understand Your Emotions, Live in the Present, and Connect Deeply with Others by Paul Gilbert Ph.D

Are you ready to transform your mind and emotions? To cultivate compassion, stability, self-confidence, and well-being? If so, get ready to change the way you experience your life with this highly-anticipated approach using mindfulness and compassion. Therapists have long been aware of mindfulness as a powerful attention skill that can help us live with greater clarity and awareness—but mindfulness alone is not enough to completely change the way a brain works. In order to fully thrive, we require motivation. Compassion, like anger or aggression, is an extremely powerful motivational force that can bring about real, lasting change.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

In the twelve steps Karen Armstrong suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion,” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Program for Personal Transformation by Kelly McGonigal

If anything were possible, what would you like to see in your life? How would you like to grow? And what's stopping you? In The Neuroscience of Change, Dr. Kelly McGonigal weaves the newest findings of science with Eastern contemplative wisdom to give listeners a revolutionary process for personal transformation. Six sessions provide breakthrough ideas supported by clinical research, guided practices, and real-world exercises for making self-awareness and compassion the basis for meaningful change, choosing deep "wantpower" instead of brute willpower,dealing with setbacks and the inner critic, and more.

Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward self-compassion in the treatment of their patients—and Dr. Neff’s extraordinary book offers exercises and action plans for dealing with every emotionally debilitating struggle, be it parenting, weight loss, or any of the numerous trials of everyday living.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher Germer

We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in--and responding compassionately to our own imperfections, without judgment or self-blame--are essential steps on the path to healing. This wise and eloquent book illuminates the power of self-compassion and offers creative, scientifically grounded strategies for putting it into action. You’ll master practical techniques for living more fully in the present moment -- especially when hard-to-bear emotions arise -- and for being kind to yourself when you need it the most.

Self-Compassion - I Don't Have To Feel Better Than Others To Feel Good About Myself: Learn How To See Self Esteem Through The Lens Of Self-Love and Mindfulness and Cultivate The Courage To Be You by Simeon Lindstrom

We have experts and gurus of all stripes telling us that the life we have now is nothing compared to what we could achieve – and yet, we're as depressed and lacking in confidence as ever. Self help books on the market today will tell you one of two things: either that you are perfect already as you are and needn't worry, or that with just a little (well, a lot) of effort, you can reach those goals. Be the best, smartest, most successful, thinnest and relentlessly happiest version of yourself possible. No excuses! This book takes a different approach to self esteem altogether. If you're feeling overwhelmed and worthless, inundated with information, struggling to juggle life, expectations, and disappointments... it may be time for a little self-compassion.

The Power of Self-Compassion: Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to End Self-Criticism and Build Self-Confidence (The New Harbinger Compassion-Focused Therapy Series) by Mary Welford DClinPsy

In The Power of Self-Compassion, you will learn that focusing on self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, is actually the best way to build true, lasting self-confidence. For too long self-esteem has been based on the idea that if you achieve certain goals you are doing okay. This can lead to comparing yourself with others as a way to build confidence. The skills and behavioral techniques outlined in this book are drawn from the groundbreaking compassion-focused therapy (CFT), which holds that being compassionate to yourself—even when things are not going well—is central to building real self-confidence.

Compassion - Children

Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee McLean

This delightful sequel to Moody Cow Meditates reintroduces us to Peter (aka Moody Cow) and meet his mischievous "boys-will-be-boys" friend Bully. Along the way we meet a snake named Jaws, who also goes on to appear in Peter's terrifying dreams, and watch as Bully revels in the deaths of the crickets he feeds the snake. The story ends with everyone sharing a laugh - and even Jaws and the crickets are happy. This book also includes two activities - compassionate cricket release and compassionate worm rescue - for parents and children to do together.

The Buddha's Apprentice at Bedtime: Tales of Compassion and Kindness for You to Read with Your Child - to Delight and Inspire by Dharmachari Nagaraja

Master storyteller Dharmachari Nagaraja offers 18 beautifully illustrated bedtime stories, inspired by the Buddhist folk tradition, for parents to read to their children. Nagaraja weaves a thrilling narrative spell while conveying basic life lessons that will nurture children, calm their anxieties, and help them find peace and confidence. The tales explore themes from the Eightfold Path—Buddhism's practical route to a happy life—while gently teaching kids to speak kindly and truthfully, behave with compassion, and think selflessly.

Character Building Day by Day: 180 Quick Read-Alouds for Elementary School and Home by Anne D. Mather & Louise B. Weldon

In elementary schools across the country, teachers are expected to provide at least five minutes of character education each day. This book makes it easy to meet that requirement in a meaningful way. It includes 180 character vignettes—five for each of the 36 weeks in the school year—grouped by trait. Each features kids in real-life situations making decisions that reflect their character. Each is short enough to be read aloud; all can be used as starting points for discussion, to support an existing character education program, or as the basis for an independent program. An excellent tool for the classroom or the character-conscious home.

Compassion by Tashna Erin LaVaux

During the days of the Buffalo, when the Earth's people were new... there lived a bird who loved humankind more than himself.

Videos/Research

See YouTube for the complete series of The Science of Compassion Series.

The Science of Compassion: Origins, Measures, and Interventions - Stephen Porges, Ph.D.

The Science of Compassion: Origins, Measures, and Interventions - Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.

The Science of Compassion: Origins, Measures, and Interventions - Kristin Neff

The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion -Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff: Overcoming Objections to Self-Compassion