MSC is an empirically-supported 8-week course designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. MSC is also available in a 5-day intensive format. It was developed by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff.
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing.
Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (thoughts, emotions, and sensations). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.
Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention from yourself when you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.
Burgeoning research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—to acknowledge our shortcomings, learn from them, and make necessary changes with an attitude of kindness and self-respect.
Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned by anyone.
In MSC you’ll learn to:
- Practice mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life
- Understand the science of self-compassion
- Use self-compassion to live in accord with your values
- Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
- Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
- Work with challenging relationships
- Manage caregiver fatigue
- Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
- Teach simple self-compassion skills to others
This program is designed for members of the general public. Meditation experience is not necessary to participate in MSC. All are welcome!
Program activities include discussion of topics, experiential exercises, meditation, small group interaction, and home practices. MSC is an opportunity to explore how we typically respond when difficulties arise in our lives and to learn tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves.
MSC is therapeutic, but it’s not therapy. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources to meet emotional challenges, old and new. MSC is also not primarily a type of mindfulness training; MSC is mindfulness-based compassion training in which the quality of warmth is emphasized more than awareness itself.
MSC participants are asked to practice mindfulness and self-compassion at home for up to ½ hour per day during the course. In a randomized, controlled study, MSC significantly increased self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction, as well as decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Improvements were linked to how much a person practiced in their daily lives. For the full-text article.
It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following book while participating in MSC:
- The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer
Prior to attending a course, the following two books may also be helpful:
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
- The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer
The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion provides information about MSC, an 8-week program designed to cultivate self-compassion skills for daily life. Founded in 2012 by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, the center is a place where people can learn about self-compassion, find out where to train in MSC, continue to practice MSC skills, and explore how to teach MSC to others.Please go to the Center for MSC for further details.