I recently listened to the audiobook of “10% Happier” by Dan Harris at the recommendation of a colleague. As I did dishes, cooked, and puttered around the house, I listened to the 7+ hours of the book and I really liked it. It is approachable and funny, and it gives a good introduction to mindfulness, refreshingly from the perspective of a person who never thought they would be into such things as meditation, retreats, etc. A lot of the book is about Harris’ career in news, setting the stage for his exploration of mindfulness, and some of the best gems come at the end of the book– all the way through the epilogue.
Somewhere near the end of the book, Harris mentions that self-compassion meditation has been linked to greater success in weight loss and in cessation of smoking. This finding is very interesting to me, and self compassion in general has been a particular focus of mine this year, so I decided to find out more about it.
One study found that combining weight loss with self compassion led to greater overall weight loss in soldiers– greater than even pairing with “regular” meditation. This article also compiles a lot of great information on the subject and discusses probably the most common obstacle to self compassion: the fear of becoming self indulgent.
I definitely have this fear, whether pertaining to weight loss, working hard, or working on any goals. I am exploring this question of being compassionate and yet not indulgent, of having intention and discipline without going overboard into an unsustainable over-drive. Balance.
Inspired by the research and by my own wish for more self love and less judgement, I am doing self compassion meditation. With just a little searching, I found this set of guided meditations that I’m liking very much so far. It feels comforting and nourishing to practice compassion for myself in this way…and it feels pretty novel!