Self compassion, Mindfulness and Healthy Attachment

Attachment patterns established between parents  and children serve those children well through life. It allows them to form healthy adult friendships and intimate relationships. I also allows them to embrace the opportunities that life presents to them.

When attachment is healthy, the reaching out movement of the baby toward the mother is confident and unambivalent. Most of us carry some level of interruption to this process into our adulthood. This manifests in our relationships as cutting off, being overly independent  or an exaggerated neediness. These behaviours become more marked when we are under stress. They can also show outside our relationships as an inability to reach out in a healthy way to the opportunities that life offers us. The practice of self compassion as part of mindfulness can help us to heal these dysfunctional patterns. We can then pass on love in a healthy way to others.

These are all connected and the Oxytocin based mammalian care giving system is involved.

Oxytocin is released in massive doses when a mother gives birth. It contracts her uterus stimulating childbirth and after childbirth it stimulates the mother’s milk production as well as  stimulating  nurturing and maternal instincts. It is also increased when someone speaks to us in a soft soothing voice or caresses us gently. It calms us and intensifies our bonding and sense of belonging.

Healing of anxious attachment patterns can begin with restorative adult relationships and  a mindfulness meditation practice  that includes a generous dose of self compassion.

baby reaching out

Check out these links:

Self compassion and oxytocin

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-neff/self-compassion_b_884665.html

The mothering voice

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/12/mother-phone-call-study-us-oxytocin

 

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One comment on “Self compassion, Mindfulness and Healthy Attachment
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