I've been interested in mindfulness programs for the last few years, and have bought a few books on the subject, but haven't been mindful (pun intended :-) ) about doing the daily work that comes along with mindfulness practice. Recently, a friend shared that she and her husband were taking an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class (which is based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn) locally, and I looked into the info about it. One of the more specialized MBSR classes you could take at this venue was one on self-compassion (called Mindful Self-Compassion, or MSC, training, the training for which was developed by Dr. Kristin Neff. Long story short, I bought this CD set as well as her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself , and am thrilled with how well they are already working.
Although based in Buddhist mindfulness practices, MBSR and MSC training don't espouse Buddhist philosophies or force them upon you. Instead, they focus on using the mind to be here in the present moment, experiencing emotions as they arise. The idea of using mindfulness to work on my self-compassion really appealed to me since I tend to beat myself up and dwell on negativity quite a bit.
This CD set comes with six CD's that are beautifully packaged in a hard case. When you open the case, there is a two-ring binder inside, and each CD comes in dual-sided slip, so that you can't scratch them against one another The CD's are easy to remove and use.
There are also liner notes that explain the breakdown of each CD (since each lecture/session is divided into sub-topics).
The focus of the CD's is as follows:
* Session 1: What Is Self-Compassion? 66 minutes
* Session 2: Self-Kindness 56 minutes
* Session 3: Mindful Self-Compassion 72 minutes
* Session 4: Self-Compassion and Interconnectedness 68 minutes
* Session 5: Working with Difficult Emotions 67 minutes
* Session 6: Embracing Your Life 72 minutes
Each CD contains a lecture/session with a 2-3 mini-guided exercises sprinkled through the lecture, and each one concludes with a longer guided meditation, which run from 5 minutes to 23 minutes.
I've been listening to each Session a few times before moving on to the next one. I burned the CD's onto iTunes so that I can listen to them on my iPad when I'm doing my crafts, and have also been listening to the CD's in the car.
While you don't need Neff's book, I've found that it has helped me go deeper into the lectures since the book has more information and explanation of some ideas.
As someone who is chronically stressed, I'm already finding the work I've been doing with Neff's CD's and books to be extremely beneficial.
Other books you mind find useful are
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook
. Tara Brach also has wonderful free lectures and meditations on her website that I've been listening to for the past year, and which have also helped me a lot.