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Healing Compassion Fatigue

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

– Jack Kornfield

As human beings we’re wired to sense and feel what others feel. This is a trait that is key to our survival and wellbeing, a trait that lies at the heart of caregiving roles as well as first-responder and advocacy professions.

sun lighting grass field / healing compassion fatigueProblems can arise though when we don’t include ourselves in the circle of care, when we don’t receive sufficient tending as we extend our caring presence to others. Direct and sustained exposure to stress, trauma and pain in others triggers our own body’s stress response; in turn, this put us at risk for what is known as compassion fatigue, a particular form of burnout that undermines wellbeing and lifework fulfillment. Among other things, compassion fatigue can compromise our immune system, interfere with our capacity to experience meaning and hinder the quality of our relationships. It may come as no surprise then that it is also prevalent in many caregiving, service and advocacy fields, as well as in those who identify as highly sensitive.

Fortunately, there are accessible tools and practices that can not only heal compassion fatigue but promote what is referred to as compassion satisfaction. Compassion satisfaction is a state of being in which we experience high levels of meaning, purpose and enjoyment when in caring roles.

Healing Compassion Fatigue is rooted in these principles and intentions.

Ashley provides a de-mystifying combination of theory and practice that offers a deeper understanding of how mindfulness, self-compassion and contemplative practice can enhance your health and well-being. Ashley’s warmth for people and her gentle, accessible teaching style made this offering a favorite of mine.

As demonstrated in research, mindfulness, self-compassion and nature contemplation have each been shown to mitigate compassion fatigue while bolstering physical and emotional resiliency. Healing Compassion Fatigue programs draw from these traditions to help us bring compassionate awareness to both our outer and inner experiences. In doing so, can we replenish our physical, emotional and spiritual reserves while staying in connection with others. We can strengthen our capacity for healthy and wise discernment moving forward as well. Approaching care in this more holistic manner also lends to experience of compassion satisfaction and emotional buoyancy; it can also more readily put us in touch with our deeper sense of purpose and connection.

Studies also show mindfulness, self-compassion and nature contemplations can improve well-being by:

  • Lowering stress and balancing the autonomic nervous system
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Strengthening connections with others
  • Enhancing facility for compassionate self-awareness
  • Fostering the capacity to experience joy

Ashley shows up truly ready to serve. She offers thought-provoking information with engaging tools. Her presence is solid – I can count on it.

Experiential in nature, Healing Compassion Fatigue programs can be customized to fit the specific interests and needs of your organization, institution or group. They can be delivered in a variety of formats including experiential talks and series; in-service trainings and retreats; and mentoring and coaching.

green grass on brown rock - healing compassion fatigueHealing Compassion Fatigue programs are designed for people in helping professions (nursing, social work, social justice, mental health, law enforcement, emergency services, foster care, elder care, hospice and education), and well-suited for folks in family caregiving roles. OpenSpace Mindfulness clients have included Microsoft, Seattle University, Weiden & Kennedy, Starbucks, Holistic Nurses Group, North Seattle College, Good Samaritan Hospitals and Catholic Charities of Oregon.

Healing Compassion Fatigue is rooted in my deep desire to support individual and collective wellbeing, and my background in mindfulness, self-compassion and nature contemplation.

I would love to connect with you and explore how Healing Compassion Fatigue can be a meaningful resource for your group or organization.

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