Day Twenty-two

DAY 22: Dr Elise Bialylew interviews Dr Chris Germer

Video Objectives

In this video, you’ll learn:

  • What self-compassion is. 
  • The connection between mindfulness and self-compassion.
  • How to practice self-compassion to improve your wellbeing.
  • The scientific research supporting the benefits of self-compassion.
  • How touch and voice can be used to activate self-compassion.
About Dr. Chris Germer

Prefer to listen, rather than watch? Click the play button below.

Want to read the transcript from this interview? Mind Life Project members receive access to interview transcripts and 6 months of mindfulness support, live meditations, and more👇

[accessally_missing_any_tag tag_id='707' comment='MLP 2021'][/accessally_missing_any_tag][accessally_has_any_tag tag_id='707' comment='MLP 2021']Mind Life Project Bonus Content:

Click here to download the transcript of Dr Elise Bialylew's interview with Chris Germer.[/accessally_has_any_tag]

Your meditation for today

Body Scan For Sleep with Vidyamala Burch

Vidyamala co-founded Breathworks as a Social Enterprise in 2004 with Gary Hennessey (AKA Ratnaguna) and Sona Fricker. Breathworks has now spread internationally with accredited trainers in over 35 countries. She also co-founded Breathworks Foundation - dedicated to making mindfulness and compassion training available to anyone regardless of circumstances. She is the author of 3 books: Mindfulness for Health – a practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring well-being (2013) co-authored with Danny Penman; Mindfulness for Women – declutter your mind, simplify your life and find time to ‘be’ (2016) co-authored with Claire Irvin; Living Well with Pain and Illness – how mindfulness can free you from suffering (2008)


“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” 

~ Chris Germer


How kind are you to yourself? 

What attitudes, expectations or demands do you have for yourself that you could let go of a little in order to be gentler and kinder to yourself? 

A crucial aspect of connecting more deeply and kindly with others is growing our capacity to be kind to ourselves. 

As we start to pay attention to our own inner dialogues, it can be quite disturbing to discover how self-critical we are. Through increased self-awareness, cultivated through mindfulness, it’s possible to shift the quality of this self-talk and move towards a more loving accepting relationship with ourselves.

Our minds are intimately connected to our bodies, and the kind of thoughts we have impact our physiology. Take a moment to bring to mind something you love: maybe it’s an image of a beautiful beach, or someone you care about. You may notice how just thinking about this image calms and relaxes your body, perhaps lowering your heart rate and slowing your breath. Similarly, when you remember something that upset you in the past, you can feel the impact of that thought on your emotional state and in your body – your stomach churning, or perhaps a tightening in your throat.

When we have self-critical thoughts, we actually trigger areas of the brain that are associated with stress. If we do this over a long time, it leads to high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. In contrast to that, self-compassion is associated with a different system, the “tend-and-befriend” system. When we practice self-compassion, we’re caring for ourselves like a mother cares for a distressed baby, activating this tend-and-befriend system and releasing oxytocin (the love molecule), which reduces the level of cortisol in the body.


If you find yourself in a difficult situation where you’re angry, disappointed or anxious, or things just haven’t gone the way you wanted, take a moment to actually put your hand on your heart as a way of actively caring for yourself (touch is a powerful way to self-soothe and activate the tend-and-befriend system). 

You can also add soothing words such as, “This feels really hard”, “I’m not alone – imagine all the humans that are suffering in this moment”, and “May I be kind to myself”.

Let the MIM community know that you did the practice - that's what the community is here for, to help you stay connected and on track!

Come on over to the Facebook community where lots of conversations are being had and share your reflections from today's exercise and meditation.

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