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On mindfulness, self-compassion and friendship with yourself

Felicitas Chiara Franz
Currently studying psychology at HS Fresenius in Frankfurt.

In this episode, Tonka and Philipp talk to the social psychologist Aljoscha Dreisörner. He gives valuable tips on how to deal with stress (especially during the Corona pandemic) and talks about his own path to and with mindfulness. The difference between self-compassion and self-compassion is also addressed. 

What is the conversation with Aljoscha Dreisörner about?

  • What led Aljoscha from his business studies to mindfulness?
  • What topics does he deal with in his doctorate?
  • What is the difference between self-compassion and self-pity?
  • How can I train self-compassion?
  • What can I do against stress? 

Aljoscha Dreisörner is now a successful social psychologist who lectures in the field of psychology at Goethe University and is currently working on his doctorate. However, before he got to where he is now, he studied business administration and wanted to earn a lot of money and become very successful. The topic of money has always preoccupied him for the reason that his parents divorced in his childhood and his mother always had to pay close attention to finances with him and three other children. Towards the end of his business studies, however, Alyosha realised that it could not be his goal to have his whole world revolve around himself and to strive only for success and money.

He now began to look into meditation, attended a student camp and finally negotiated a deal with himself: He would try meditating once a day for six months. If he didn't feel any change after these six months, he would stop; if he did, he would continue meditating. However, it turned out very quickly for him that the newly acquired awareness had a decisive influence on his life. He reports that he perceived himself as calmer, more conscious and also more thoughtful, which in turn had a positive effect on his social environment, his way of working and many other areas of life. 


By chance, he then came across the topic of mindfulness for his doctorate. In the process, he investigated and still investigates the construct of self-compassion and thus also its individual components: self-kindness, connecting humanity and mindfulness in various studies. 

Self-pity and self-compassion

Alyosha answers the question of where self-compassion and self-compassion differ by saying that self-compassion means identifying with bad experiences and taking on a victim role, while self-compassion is expressed through a gentle and understanding way of dealing with oneself. The construct of connecting humanity, which is part of self-compassion, also describes the knowledge of the person concerned that he or she is not the only person to whom something bad has happened.

Self-compassion is to be understood as a state and also as a quality and can be trained through writing exercises and many other positive psychological interventions. That self-compassion is an important quality can also be seen in the fact that hugs from others and touches from oneself have the same positive effects on one's own well-being, according to Alyosha. 

The benefits of meditation

Against stress, especially in the context of the Corona pandemic, he recommends spending time with friends, meditating, going out and generally taking time for oneself. He himself was also helped by becoming and being aware that he himself was not responsible for the situation and the personal problems that arose for him as a result of the pandemic. 

Alyosha then tells us that as a lecturer at the university he likes to start his lectures with a meditation and is very popular for it. 

He thinks it makes sense for this to be done not only at his lectures, but also at his students' later workplaces. Alyosha is convinced that mindfulness and thus also meditation have positive effects in the workplace, especially in important and high positions, and should thus play a greater role. However, he emphasises that all his recommendations and also his own workshops are always evidence-based and he also places a high value on this. 

He also sees strong growth in the research field in the future.

The Podcast

If you liked Episode #1: A critical look at mindfulness then listen to the other episodes. For more information about the podcast and where you can listen to it, go to About the Mind.


If you want to try meditation for yourself, we welcome you to our online meditation studio. From the comfort of your home, you can participate in one of our many expert-led meditation sessions. We are looking forward to seeing you! Online Meditation Studio . From the comfort of your own home, you can take part in one of our many expert-led meditation sessions.

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