The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion by Kelly McGonigal
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The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion by Kelly McGonigal

Discover how the brain works, including why the critical inner voice exists, and how to replace it with self-compassion.
4.8 (497 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,742 students enrolled
Created by Sounds True
Last updated 7/2016
Current price: $25 Original price: $100 Discount: 75% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 4 Articles
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Develop self-compassion through an understanding of scientific research and ancient Buddhist practices
  • Use meditation to practice mindfulness and presence in every moment
  • Forgive yourself and accept every aspect of your unique being
  • Quiet the critical inner voice that holds you back and makes you feel negatively towards yourself
View Curriculum
  • This course doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. All you need to do is watch the lectures and practice the meditations and exercises provided to transform your mind

This course is taught by Kelly McGonigal, PhD, who is an award-winning lecturer and health psychologist. 

Kelly is also an international best-seller who is known for her books, “The Willpower Instinct” and her latest book the “The Upside of Stress.” Her TED talk, "How to Make Stress Your Friend," is one of the 20 Most Viewed TED talks of all time, with 10 million views.

With a deep understanding of the mind-body relationship, she fuses findings in the fields of medicine, neuroscience, and psychology with compassion and mindfulness practices that will inspire you to heal from within.

Just about everyone feels that there’s something broken or wrong inside of them.

This course will show you how to quell that critical inner voice. As a result, you’ll change your brain and remove self-defeating patterns and habits.

You’ll learn how to focus on self-compassion and self-forgiveness, which can both be utilized to boost your discipline and willpower.

Develop a Deeper Level of Self-Compassion & Self-Forgiveness

  • Understand the Science Behind Your Negative, Critical Inner Voice
  • Develop a Mindfulness and Meditation Practice to Combat Negativity
  • Access Tools and Techniques That Bring About Positive Change in Your Mind
  • Use Awareness, Intention, and Attention to Increase Kindness Towards the Self

Remove Negative Patterns, Be Gentle with Yourself, & Invite Positive Change

This course will expose you to the latest neuroscientific insights on self-compassion so you can learn how to apply these concepts in a practical manner throughout your daily life.

You’ll explore how your inner critical voice can actually gain strength from your brain’s survival instincts. But you’ll also discover how you can stop that from happening so you can begin to quiet that negative voice.

Beyond that, you’ll also learn contemplative practices for instilling self-care into your being, and you’ll use nonjudgmental awareness to create an attitude of acceptance and curiosity about yourself.

Contents and Overview

After a brief introduction, you’ll dive right into a mindfulness meditation that teaches you how to focus on the present moment through recognition of the breath.

You’ll then learn about the importance of attention, and how your brain behaves and wanders towards negativity and dissatisfaction. This will help you realize that your mind works just like everyone else’s when in its default mode.

After developing an understanding of the default mode of the brain, you’ll uncover how to move past self-criticism and suffering by using meditation, intention, and attention.  

As you move through the course, you’ll learn how to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion through various exercises and meditations.

You’ll access valuable tools and techniques that you can use daily to overcome the negative voice within and bring more compassion, peace, and joy into your life.

By the time you complete this course, you’ll have an understanding of how to compassionately connect with your present and future self, as well as how to accept and love every aspect of your being.

You’ll be able to create a more resilient brain, support positive change, and remove any negative emotions and patterns that have held you back.

Downloadable Additional Resources

  • Powerpoint Slides (Lecture 1)
  • Practical Application: Values Self-Affirmation and Compassion Letter Exercises (Lecture 8) 
  • Two 30-Minute Guided Meditations
Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who struggles with self-criticism
  • Anyone who wishes to quiet the negative inner voice that inhibits peace and happiness
  • Anyone who wants to take the best of science and Buddhism and use these tools to enhance wellbeing
  • Anyone who wants to understand how the brain and mind work
  • Anyone who is interested in establishing a healing meditation practice for the mind and emotions
  • Anyone who seeks a means by which they can be more compassionate and forgiving towards themselves
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Curriculum For This Course
22 Lectures
The Neuroscience of the Brain's Default Mode
6 Lectures 29:49

Guided Breath-Focused Meditation

Kelly's Presentation Slides

Activating the Default Mode Network

Evolutionary Theories Explaining the Default Mode
Exercises in Self-Compassion
6 Lectures 37:04
Mindful Self-Compassion Practice

Bucket of Shame Exercise

Self-Affirmation Exercise

Written Reflection

The Hidden Truth in Self-Criticism

Changing the Default Mode through Mindfulness
Facing Difficulties & Understanding Compassion
4 Lectures 30:31
Managing Backdraft

Guided Compassion Meditation

A Definition of Compassion

Challenges with Self-Compassion
Developing Deeper Compassion Practices
6 Lectures 29:47
Scientific Studies in Self-Compassion

Self-Kindness Resources

Writing Exercise: Sending & Receiving Compassion Part 1

Writing Exercise: Sending & Receiving Compassion Part 2

Closing Self-Acceptance Practice

Bonus Lecture
About the Instructor
Sounds True
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Publisher of book, audio, and video titles in the fields of self-development, personal growth, and spirituality

Sounds True was founded in 1985 by Tami Simon with a clear mission: to disseminate spiritual wisdom. Since starting out as a project with one woman and her tape recorder, we have grown into a multimedia publishing company with more than 80 employees, a library of more than 600 titles featuring some of the leading teachers and visionaries of our time, and an ever-expanding family of customers from across the world. In more than two decades of growth, change, and evolution, Sounds True has maintained its focus on its overriding purpose, as summed up in our Vision Statement:

Sounds True exists to inspire, support, and serve personal transformation and spiritual awakening.

Sounds True is an independent multimedia publishing company that embraces the world's major spiritual traditions, as well as the arts and humanities, embodied by the leading authors, teachers, and visionary artists of our time. Our approach to publishing is not dependent on a single format or technology—rather, we strive with every title to preserve the essential "living wisdom" of the author, artist, or spiritual teacher. It is our goal to create products that not only provide information to a reader or listener, but that also embody the essential quality of a wisdom transmission between a teacher and a student.

Throughout the years, Sounds True has developed a guiding philosophy that we call "multiple bottom lines." Our dedication to this principle is embodied in our Mission Statement:

The mission of Sounds True is to find teachers and artists who serve as a gateway to spiritual awakening and to produce, publish, and distribute their work with beauty, intelligence, and integrity. We treat our authors, vendors, and partners in the same way we would want to be treated. We work flexibly and efficiently together to create a cooperative, loving environment that honors respectful authenticity and individual growth. We maintain a healthy level of profitability so that we are an independent and sustainable employee-owned organization.

The three essential bottom lines for Sounds True are the integrity of our purpose, the well-being of our people, and the maintaining of healthy profits. All three of these priorities are important in the decisions we make as a company. It is our conviction that each of these bottom lines must be healthy for the company to prosper as a whole.

In our history as a publisher, Sounds True has produced a wide variety of formats in order to fulfill our goal of disseminating spiritual wisdom.