While all contemplative techniques relate to self-care or -development in some respect, this category specifically addresses thought patterns that may keep you down and hold you back. These can manifest as hard resistance to giving yourself a break, as the belief you don’t deserve kindness, love, or the respect of others, and as debilitating self-critique. These guided instructions invite listeners to deliberately affirm the positive aspects of themselves and their lives while addressing these negative thoughts with new patterns of acceptance and warmth.

*Note that for ideal functionality, it is best to link to the recordings in this playlist via the Insight Timer app on your mobile device rather than through the Insight Timer website.

Dora Kamau
Kamau guides the listener through a relaxing meditation on the breath that includes letting go of any thoughts of past, present, and future and simply resting comfortably with now before synchronizing inhalation and exhalation with self-affirmations: “I am deserving. I am worthy. I am enough.” As a woman of color, she speaks directly to members of these communities and is experienced, effective, and invested in their support. Also see her popular 10-day course, Self-Care in Times of Uncertainty.

Meg James
Introduced by Michele McDonald and popularized by Tara Brach and others, RAIN is an acronym for mindfulness practice more generally. It stands for:
  1. Recognize what is going on
  2. Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
  3. Investigate with kindness
  4. Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience.
Focusing on self-compassion more specifically, this guided exercise offers a direct, therapeutic exploration and acceptance of one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions, no matter what arises. 

Michael Coleman
This accessible contemplation is clear, strong, and direct, welcoming those who may have tough exteriors to delve deeper into a heart of acceptance, friendliness, and warmth towards oneself and others. If you connect with his teaching style, also check out his popular 10-day course, Cultivating the Boundless Qualities of the Heart,  which takes listeners through Buddhism’s “four sublime states”: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

Elana Morgulis
This practice includes easing into the breath and then proceeds through warm self-affirmations and the release of difficult thoughts and emotions. It is accompanied by background music.

Devin Ashwood
This practice offers a foundational introduction to relaxed breathing techniques and settling meditation before moving into a standard progression of loving-kindness (metta) affirmations  for oneself and others: “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from fear. May you be at peace.”

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