Sr. Stan “Mindfulness Can Help Bring About A More Just And Caring Society”
You can prevent stress and burnout at work and at home, by building resilience and cultivating self-compassion.
These are the themes for this year’s Sanctuary conference to be opened by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Founder of the Sanctuary, in Dublin Castle, on Tuesday 10th May 2016. Sharon Salzberg, world renowned Mindfulness teacher and New York Times bestselling author will be the keynote speaker.
“What has happened in the U.K. with the release of the all party parliamentary report on mindfulness in 2015 has been an acknowledgement of it’s importance for self development and a more caring and just society. In Ireland we have done a lot to embed mindfulness into the education system, but there is still more to do. We need to equip young people with the skill of mindfulness in both primary and secondary schools to allow for their full flourishing. Some of the areas Mindfulness can help us all with are stress, anxiety, self confidence, resilience, rumination, worry, fatigue,the list goes on! We also need to train college students in mindfulness who will go on to become the next generation of educators and carers.”says Sister Stan
“Consider the following-What might happen when a young person unfortunately finds themselves in a care setting where they meet a carer who has the skill of mindfulness and can reignite in them the training in mindfulness they received in school? The possibilities for connection and reframing of the relationship are endless.”, says Sr Stan.
She goes on to say “ Too many people are suffering from stress and burnout to the detrement of their physical and mental health. We need to take that seriously especially as there is now hard evidence that neuroscience backs mindfulness and self compassion as essential skills for managing stress. Only 20 minutes practice of mindfulness a day can make all the difference.“
“The Sanctuary Conference. The Heart of Caring will be of particular interest to people working in the caring professions – social care, healthcare, education and the criminal justice system, as well as carers at home. dPartcipants will get opportunities to practice self-compassion and mindfulness.”
Other speakers include
Niamh Bruce, a Mindfulness Teacher who is a parent and also a full-time carer of her own parent;
Kathleen Neenan – Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, and Mindfulness and Self Compassion teacher.
“We are delighted to welcome Sharon Salzberg to Ireland”, continues Sr Stan. “She has done ground-breaking work with the Garrison Institute [a retreat and contemplative centre in New York www.garrisoninstitute.org] developing self-care programmes for staff in Women’s Refuges.
“Here at home, frontline staff are experiencing stress and burnout in their jobs in our poorly resourced social services. They are working with people who are struggling with homelessness, with poverty, addiction and with mental health issues. If we are to be a truly caring society, we must ensure that we have the services people need and that people working in the services have the supports they need to do their job. One support – and it’s only one support – is to provide people with the means to be more self-compassionate and therefore more resilient. Self-compassionate people are people who are better able to cope with the pressures of stressful situations,” Sr Stan concludes.
Sharon Salzburg says “if you are depleted you don’t have the energy to create the change that’s needed in seemingly intractable situations and systems. Practices like mindfulness, self-compassion and Loving Kindness help to build that inner resilience”. Sharon will lead practices in self-compassion and Loving Kindness during the Conference.
Niamh Bruce, Mindfulness Teacher and practitioner for ten years, is a full- time carer of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She says “Mindfulness gives me space – just a few moments of space – and then I can make a choice about how to react, even in moments of despair”, explains Niamh. “I really only understood that fully while caring for Mom – despite years of practice!
Kathleen Neenan, Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin, says there is a growing body of evidence of the benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion as a way to build resilience in carers. “The evidence from neuroscience, from the work of pioneers such as psychologists Paul Gilbert and Kristen Neff, is now beginning to build a body of evidence on the value of cultivating self-compassion and how this can contribute to our wellbeing” says Kathleen. She adds that “A compassion focused approach can also be applied to organisations and work. Managers and supervisors who create a more compassionate environment can see the benefits in staff”.