Monday, October 14, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #23 - Self-Compassion Art

"Self-Compassion" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
This challenge is based on Germer and Neff's self-compassion research (you can download the paper here.)  Their belief is that we all have something about ourselves that we don’t like; something that causes us to feel embarrassment or just not “good enough.”  Of course we know it's part of being human, to be imperfect, but we often get swallowed up in our feelings of failure or inadequacy and forget that it is part of the experience of being a human so we berate ourselves.  We may imagine this will motivate us to work harder, do better, and fail less but Germer and Neff's research demonstrates that the exact opposite is true,  and that there is actually a high correlation between self-compassion and psychological flourishing and a reduction of depression and anxiety. After an 8-week training program in mindful self-compassion they found participants demonstrated a significant increase in self-compassion, mindfulness, compassion for others, and life satisfaction and a decrease in depression, anxiety, stress, and emotional avoidance. All gains in outcomes were maintained at 6 months and 1-year follow-up.  In fact, life satisfaction actually increased significantly at the 1-year follow-up, demonstrating a willingness to continue the self-compassion practices which in turn enhanced the participants' quality of life over time.

Enhanced quality of life sounds pretty good.  So I looked at the exercises Gemer posted on his website.  One of the  exercises was writing a compassionate letter to yourself (the exercise is here).  I thought why not create Self-Compassion Art?  Their research showed that repeating the exercise daily over a week was very helpful.  So I thought why not create "little Lani" collage elements and use them to create collages for a week, with the idea of expressing self-compassion in the collage.

So here's your challenge.  Use an image of a younger version of yourself and create an art piece with compassion.  You could try this exercise for a week, making it a part of your daily practice. Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

1 comment:

Roisin Markham said...

Lovely post Lani, thanks for the links to the research. Very informative.