January 2018 newsletter

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Setting our goals and intentions for 2018 as the year begins

As this New Year begins, it is time once again to think about positive change, improvements, resolutions, and achieving goals, aims and dreams!
A key phrase to keep in mind this year is – ‘a step at a time with care and compassion’ and the key words to focus your endeavours on are ‘Balance’ and ‘harmony’.
The first day retreat of the year on January 13 saw the start of my new year begin with a wonderful group of people who I had the privilege of sharing the day with as we set our intentions and goals for the year ahead. If you were unable to attend-it’s not too late to begin to focus your attention on achieving goals and setting intentions as the year provides ample opportunity for renewing your vows and commitment to yourself and  your well-being.
As the year unfolds and you are looking for support on your personal well-being journey – check out the now well-established and popular Willersley mindful self-compassion  weekend retreats. These run twice a year in the Spring-setting and revisiting intentions and in the Autumn – reviewing and refining our progress and taking time out to re-balance and reconnect with our purpose and highest nature.
The Mindful self-compassion programme transforms and transcends the mundane, and challenges of daily life-teaching essential skills for emotional resilience and well-being

As Jack Kornfield writes in his new year message

“A long-term intention is also called a vow or dedication. …Setting a long-term intention is like setting the compass of our heart. No matter how rough the storms, how difficult the terrain, even if we have to backtrack around obstacles, our direction is clear. The fruits of dedication are visible in the best of human endeavours.”

Here is a reminder of some important concepts to consider as the new year unfolds:

  • Balance – going full steam ahead with a radical diet puts excess pressure on you at the very start of the year. It is far better to consider eating healthily and mindfully (see https://www.annetteboden.co.uk/weight-management/ for further information).
  • Harmony- this comes about from acknowledging moderation and moving towards your goals a step at a time, so that you are not overwhelmed.
  •  Compassion- work towards being kind to yourself and those around you, and in all your relationships. Practice compassion-and most importantly ‘self-compassion’ the physical and emotional benefits are well known. Check out my website here for further details about the Mindful Self-compassion programme.
  • Mindfulness- Acknowledging the beauty of nature every day. When you are walking- this is a good time to practice mindful awareness- being in touch with and being fully aware, in the present moment, of all you can see, hear, and feel on your weekly walk or daily journey.
  • Self-compassion and self-care
  • Why self -compassion is important? – Research shows that self-compassionate people engage in healthier behaviours like exercise, eating well, drinking less.
  • Research also shows that self-compassion provides the safety needed to admit mistakes, rather than needing to blame someone else for them, and that
  • self-compassionate people take greater personal responsibility for their actions. They don’t just beat themselves up when they fail and are less afraid of failure, and more likely to try again and persist in their efforts after failing.
  • It is strongly associated with fewer negative states like depression, anxiety, stress, and shame, and negative body image.
  • It is strongly linked to more positive states like happiness, life satisfaction, optimism, and better physical health.
  • Where mindfulness and self -compassion fit in and support you. Mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. We need to notice and turn towards our suffering before we can respond with kindness- it is the awareness of present -moment experience without judgment and with acceptance.
    Mindfulness helps you to pay attention and focus and self-compassion is an antidote to self- criticism. Kindness and compassion for self and others releases a powerful and important chemical called oxytocin that promotes our health and well-being. Compassion and loving kindness heals emotional rifts.
  • You can learn more and grow stronger this year as you check out the details for the Mindful self-compassion programme

And a note about letting go of old unwanted habits, thoughts, and beliefs that no longer serve you:
The Thai Buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah once said:
“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness
If you let go completely, you will be completely happy”

A word or two about keeping on track with goals, setting intention, and fulfilling dreams:
Michael Hyatt in his book “living forward” said
“When we are gone, the only essential thing we will leave behind are the memories we create in the lives of those we have touched and those we love…..we don’t have to leave them to chance. We can be intentional about creating them”
Setting our intention and goals one step at a time 
These intentions and goals can be large or small – but they must be meaningful to you –  e.g. reading more, engaging with friends more, a new hobby, a new career and reflect your core values. What areas of your life would you like to bring about some positive change?
Then pick one area to begin with today-right now – such as relationships, financial security, health?
Your intentions and goals can be large-embracing life’s bigger picture or small but significant steps to support your wellbeing in daily life.
What goals or goals would you like to aim for? No-one else can decide what they are for you.

  • What is your goal/goals for this year?
  • What would you like to change? What old unwanted habit would you like to let go of?
  • What stands in your way? What are your blocks? Internal (beliefs and thoughts) or external (the practicalities of every-day life and demands to be met.
  • What can you let go of right now that frees you up to take the first small step?
  • What is the first step you need to take?
  • What intention will you set for yourself?

As you take this time to reflect quietly and write down your answers-your goals and intentions-perhaps even planning to journal as the year unfolds-on the nature of your journey and what arises along the way.
Remember-as Michael Hyatt talks about having a plan of action –  it is a framework to engage with and you can add to or subtract from as the year unfolds – you are setting the intention- and this can be the start of a life-long practice you revisit annually, monthly, weekly, daily –  write it down, sign it date it and keep it as a reference.

A note on responsibility
When we are living in accord with our core values we have balance and harmony and an enduring sense of well-being and emotional resilience. As you set your intentions and goals for the year ahead you are beginning to address change where it is needed. We may need to address change in our daily habits and we will be looking at this in more detail when we focus our attention on ‘self-compassion in daily life’.
Self-compassion does not mean letting yourself off the hook and relinquishing responsibility for your life and what brings meaning and value, and joy and happiness- it merely encourages you to gently pick yourself up and start again when you stray from the path, make a mistake, and don’t succeed fully in some way.

In his book “Being in balance” Wayne Dyer talks about being in balance and says,
“The single most important tool to being in balance is knowing that you and you alone are responsible for the imbalance between what you dream your life is meant to be, and the daily habits that drain life from that dream”
He continues:
“If you’re out of balance, its primarily because you’ve energetically allowed your habits to define your life. Those habits, and the consequences thereof, are the result of the energy you given them”

My train track analogy
You can imagine- and then create focus on the destination-the goal. Setting your intention is the rail track connecting 1 line to another –  if they are not in alignment they don’t connect for you to complete your journey- so, if you continue to give time and mental energy to being in a state of disconnect from your dream and reality, or a state of imbalance through living in fear, complaining, or expecting the worst-then it’s time to retrain the brain and address what Rick Hanson describes as our ‘negativity bias’.
Our brain is designed for our survival rather than our happiness- Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the good-but we have the ability through our own brain’s neuroplasticity to change that – we can activate our ‘soothing system’ through practices of self-care and self-compassion as an antidote to self- criticism and defeatist thinking , and by refocusing your attention on your abilities, capabilities, and strengths- so you bring your life back into balance- to realign your dreams and goals with your intentions and daily habits, so the tracks connect and the train reaches its destination.
You can only bring balance and alignment to connect the pathway if you look forwards and upwards- as Oscar Wilde once said: “we may all be in the gutter but some of us are looking up at the stars”
If you focus on your mistakes or things that haven’t yet worked out -it’s like you are stuck looking through the rear- view mirror and the tracks cannot connect- as Willey Jolley said: “the past is a frame of reference not residence”
So, don’t be hard on yourself for mistakes you’ve made or going off track on occasion-life does get in the way sometimes and we have to meet the demands and overcome the challenges of the moment –  Beating yourself up wastes valuable energy- mistakes are only a starting point- focus on what you have already achieved- if you are reading my newsletter and have taken to time to read this far then you are already taking first steps to taking control of the vehicle that will take you to your destination safely and with.


In my new courses I share some of the knowledge and ancient wisdom of compassion practice and the strategies to help build emotional resilience and well-being as we move  ahead in Spring 2018.

This New year and  into 2018 I am offering the MSC course in its 8 week format, and adapted versions over 5 weekends, and for health care professionals a specially adapted 4-week version developed by Professor Kristin Neff- self-compassion researcher and founder of MSC with her colleague Chris Germer.

I am also offering adapted courses to teachers and I am thrilled to have begun my first course with a school last November! This is truly a home-coming for me as it is my old school where I had some of the best years of my life and learnt core values that have kept me in good stead as I have journeyed through life’s path.
My professional  focus and ethos continues to evolve and move towards a compassionate approach to well-being that offers new strategies physical and emotional comfort based on neuroscientific findings, and continuing research into chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia and CFS.

This January issue is filled with updated information regarding my new practice times, and the new courses for 2018.

Mindful self -Compassion programme

All MSC courses will now take place in Disley on Saturdays and Adlington Village Hall South East Cheshire on Friday afternoons. The original ‘six weekly gathering’ will continue to be held at Disley Quaker meeting in East Cheshire which borders with the High peak. Other gatherings will take place in South Cheshire also as the year progresses.

The official Mindful Self-Compassion programme  

The full MSC weekly course starting February 2018

The full MSC weekly course starting February 2018 with a choice of two options:
Dates: Friday afternoons 2.30-5.30pm: February 2, 9, 16, 23;  March 2, 9 (extended 2.00pm-6.00pm retreat session),16, 23; April 6, 2018.

Venue: Adlington village Hall

Saturday mornings 10.00-1.00pm: February 3, 10, 17; March 3, 17, 24 (10-2 Retreat session) ,31; April 7, 21 (2-5pm)

Venue: Disley Quaker meeting house.

MSC over 5 weekends on Saturdays – with full days 10-5pm: April 28 session 1 and 2; May 12 session 3 and 4; May 26 Retreat day 10-3pm; June 9 session 5 and 6; June 23 session 7 and 8.
Venue: Disley Quaker meeting House.
Cost:  A new reduced fee is being offered at £220 for the course + £30 for the retreat session with the new fully updated programme. This includes all handouts, refreshments, and includes a half-day silent retreat. The length of sessions has reverted back to 2 3/4 hours with a 15- minute break as per the latest guidelines from The Centre for Mindful Self Compassion to ensure that 85% of the course materials are covered. The sessions can be offered at 2.5 hours, but this would mean less time for absorbing the material and immersing in the work. I have therefore added back in the original half hour and extended the retreat session which is £30 so the total fee for the 9 session course to meet partial requirement for teacher training is £250.00 
For further information and an application form please contact me in the first instance on 07753 957371 or email me . Places are limited and secured by completed application form and £50 non-refundable but transferable deposit. This can be paid online via bacs (please get in touch for details) or by postal cheque made payable to ‘Annette Boden’ and sent to ‘ 18a Green lane, Chinley, Derbyshire, SK23 6AA.

NB:I have had a number of inquiries from people who have completed the course with me regarding completing the programme again.
I myself completed the programme twice to reinforce my learning before undertaking ‘teacher training’  so for anyone who has completed the course with me, wishing to complete this rewarding and life-affirming  programme again I am offering a 50% discount

NB: Full payment of £250.00 for all MSC course attendance options is due at least one month prior to course commencement and no later than one week before. Cancellations made within one week of commencement will be 50% refundable. Payment can be made and a place secured with a non-refundable but transferable deposit of £50 and the balance is due one month prior to commencement and no later than one week prior to commencement.

If you have any questions regarding payment please get in touch.


 Six weekly gatherings Disley 2017/2018 

From January 2018 the ‘gatherings’ are now available to anyone who has trained in MSC and who wishes to keep connected to the practice and be supported with their practice and ongoing journey in the warm and friendly company of those who are also walking the path.
The remaining date for the 2017 gatherings is This Saturday December 9 and runs from 10-3 for a special extended Christmas gathering. If you are joining us, please let me know ASAP so I can plan refreshments. Please bring vegan or vegetarian food to share for lunch and a warm blanket if you feel the cold- a special note will be going out to all my regular gathers also. Thanks so much to all the gatherers who have attended in 2017 and shared so much.
The dates for 2018 at Disley are as follows:
27 January 10.00-12.30pm, 21 April, 2 June, 14 July, 25 August, BREAK FOR AUTUMN WEEKEND RETREAT AT WILLERLSEY, 20 October, 6 December 10-3 for a special extended Christmas gathering.
NB: If you would like to attend any of the gatherings  and have not completed MSC with me please get in touch with me in the first instance.

Spring 2018 at The Brookdale Clinic

It has been really lovely to begin work and offer a Friday morning clinic at this centre of excellence for a range of health and well-being treatments, including: Physiotherapy, Psychology, massage, podiatry, facials, microdermabrasion to name but a few!  I am looking forward to an official launch in the early spring where you will be able to come along to an open day or evening (day and time TBC) and meet me and some of my colleagues at the clinics.

Corporate and Community well-being
This year I have continued to focus on  corporate and community well-being as I continue with teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion programme (please get in touch if you would like me to send out an information and application form for courses starting in Spring 2017) and NEW FOR 2018:  ‘Emotional resilience’, and ‘Mindful compassion for well-being’ ‘Eat well, sleep well, live well’ Three unique programmes of 4 week-weekly  training and personal development  incorporating the latest research based approaches including ‘compassion and mindfulness’ and imaginal exposure’ for valuable and lasting lifestyle changes and well-being.
I have found that motivation and intention are powerful instigators of positive lifestyle change and I found this article on ‘the science of achieving your goals’ interesting and thought I would share it here with you.

MSC for teens and Young adults

I am offering MSC for teens next Spring 2018 and places are limited to 10 teens so register your interest asap and I will send out some information.  This course is the official  ‘Making friends with yourself’  MSC for teens and young adults. Research has already shown the benefits and positive outcomes for this training and I believe it will be the next great move forward in our civilisation towards compassion and emotional resilience. I have had the privilege of training in Dublin in November 2016 with Loraine Hobbs and Karen Bluth- 2 remarkable people who are setting the bar for transforming the lives of teens and young adults, so they can flourish as adults- I wish this course had been around for my generation- it really is a game changer in developing self-confidence and emotional resilience. Watch this space for further information or get in touch to discuss how I can bring this to your school or community college.

Settling deeper in to my East Cheshire surroundings
As I begin to settle more deeply this new year in my new home and my home county, I continue to  discover new avenues of self-compassion practice and teaching.
My Chinley practice days are now Mondays and Wednesdays.
I am developing a new practice in the Knutsford/Wilmslow/Holmes chapel areas, so, This new year 2018 I am setting the intention and aiming my focus on the goal of finding and opening ‘a place of my own’ where I can continue my flexible service at times to suit.
I would be grateful for any suggestions of places in these areas I can look into.
I continue to offer services at Sett Valley (for the time being), Priorslegh in Poynton, and extending my practice hours at Park Lane in Macclesfield, and The Regency Hospital in Macclesfield. I also offer appointments on Friday mornings at my new clinic at The Brookdale clinic in Knutsford.

There are new retreats and workshops on offer  to help you to keep your focus on your intentions and goals as 2018 unfolds, to support you on your own journey.

Willersley Castle Mindful self-compassion weekend retreats 2018


The Willersley Castle retreat dates confirmed for this year and places are filling up fast! So please get in touch asap to book your place which is secured with a non-refundable but transferable deposit of £50.00. You can send me a cheque or pay via bacs
The two retreat weekends this year are: 18-20 May 2018 and 5-7 October 2018

Check out the APP insight meditation. I have just uploaded a free mediation there “Giving and receiving compassion” the third of the core meditations from the Mindful self-compassion programme. If you would like an MP3 download of the meditation just for you, please email me

New for Spring 2018

“Mindful Compassion for well-being”
A 4-week programme introducing mindful self-compassion with an option to continue to complete the official MSC 8-week programme starting March 2018
This adapted course is based on the Compassion-focused therapeutic approaches taken from the mindful self-compassion courses of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. The course will focus specifically on mindfulness based approaches to emotional well-being and is not intended to replace psychological therapy. It will also involve some group discussion and deep relaxation techniques.
The cost is £100 for the full 4 weeks. Places are limited and secured by a £50 non-refundable but transferable deposit payable via bacs online (contact me for details) or by cheque made payable to ‘Annette Boden’ and sent to ‘ 18a Green lane, Chinley, Derbyshire, SK23 6AA’.
Venue: South Cheshire / Adlington / Wilmslow /Alderley Edge TBC
Dates TBC: 1.5 hours per week – 4 weekly evenings/ afternoons/ Saturday mornings Starting Spring 2018
Please register your interest and preferred time of week by email or call me on 07753 95731


Annette Boden well-being presents

“Sleep well, eat well, Live well”
A series of 4 uplifting weekly workshops for complete well-being which can be taken individually or as a complete package
Cost: £30 per workshop or £25 per workshop when attending all 4
Venue: South Cheshire TBC. It is most likely going to be Adlington village Hall or Holmes Chapel, or Goostrey. I am going to be running this course over a number venues and times to accommodate as many people as possible so they will run on weekday afternoons, mornings, evenings, and Saturdays.
Dates: New dates and times TBC for Spring/Summer 2018
Places are limited and secured by £30 if only attending one session or £100 if attending all four to complete the course – prior to commencement of the course payable via bacs online ( contact me for details) or by cheque made payable to ‘Annette Boden’ and sent to ‘ 18a Green lane, Chinley, Derbyshire, SK23 6AA’.

Please register your interest and preferred time of week by email or call me on 07753 95731

online shopping page

My online shopping page is a new venture and I hope to update it regularly -adding items of interest and enjoyment. At the moment I have CDs and downloads available. I will also be uploading videos and downloads in a free resource section as I get my new website fully up and running, so watch this space!


In my private practice I teach mindfulness based compassion focused- approaches alongside psychotherapy and cognitive counselling to bringing about change and improving quality of life and I have the privilege of seeing huge change and success from these approaches. So do get in touch  or call me on 07753 957371 if you would like help with anxiety issues, low mood, or other issues you feel I may be able to help you with.

Wishing you all well and happy, with a New Year that is filled with hope and compassion, and much love and joy for yourself and for all around you in January 2018
Thank you so much for your continued support and as I continue to develop my programmes and offerings.