Making Friends with Yourself

When is the good time to start taking care of yourself? When I get this degree, my dreamed job, or when I get older and will have some more free time? And how about starting right now?  Adolescence is a time of change, growth and often, struggle.  Teens might be confronted with various intense situations  such as heartbreak, anxiety, peer pressure, bullying.

Making Friends with Yourself is scientifically validated protocol to help teens build resources in managing difficult emotions and learning practices through fun activities based on mindfulness and self-compassion.

Together with AVAST (Valencian Association for Support of High Intelectual Capacities) and Global C (Center of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy) we run this 8-weeks course designed to help adolescents navigating through emotional ups and downs of this life stage with greater ease.

The 2nd edition of the Peaceful Mind Summer School at UvA is now ended…

Today is the first day of the rest of our life after this summer school adventure…and I already miss you all! We had so much fun exploring the science of contemplative practices, practicing yoga and meditation during the silent day, and discovering the beauty of the city of Amsterdam. Thanks to incredible guest lecturers,  the best UvA summer school organization team, and especially to all of you that joined us from around the world bringing a beauty and diversity of knowledge and experience! I will keep you close to my heart.  Have a safe trip back home!

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How about being kind to yourself?

Let’s be honest, being kind to ourselves is not usually our first priority. We need to take care of our loved ones, our friends, our pets, or plants, and then we can finally sit and have a nice cup of tea or coffee…but guess what…there is only 24 hours in our daily schedule! So maybe its time to think where am I on my priority list? Maybe its time to put yourself in the agenda? Asking how do I feel? (mindfulness), and what do I need right now? (compassion). It doesn’t take so long but it makes all the difference.

Recently, together with my friend Gloria Remacha and thanks to the kindness of Ignasi Fayos Perez from IPSIVA I had a pleasure to run an 8-week Mindful-Self Compassion course for adults. We were reflecting on the importance of being kind to ourselves and learning new tools to respond with an open heart to moments of difficulties. It was a lot of fun!


Mindful-Self Compassion workshop for Teens!

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Being a teen is everything but an easy job… So how can we stay tuned to our real self if so many things is going on both externally and internally?

Together with Metta Center (Spain) we organized a half day workshop on mindful self compassion for teens and exchanged with them different tips on how to stay calm in the midst of all these changes.

Thanks guys for participating!



Peaceful Mind Summer School 2019


It is with a great pleasure that, as an academic director,  I would like to invite you for this new edition of Peaceful Mind Summer School organized by University of Amsterdam.

University of Amsterdam offer intensive programmes at pre-university, Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD levels but also to professionals right in the heart of Amsterdam. the summer school programmes range from the sciences to the humanities, with interdisciplinary and innovative approach in topics targeting our current societal challenges. Check out how was our 2018 edition of the Peaceful Mind, here.

And if you would like to know more, click  here to find more details about our program, and here to find more information about other courses.

See you in July 2019!


Making Friends with Yourself Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens and Young adults

tennis-shoes-banner“The privilege of the lifetime is being who you are” Joseph Campbell

Adolescence is a time of change, growth and often, struggle.  As a teen you might be confronted with various intense situations  such as heartbreak, anxiety, peer pressure, bullying. So, how can you manage stress, silence your inner critic, and embrace who you really are?

Making friends with Yourself is a course designed to help you to cope more effectively with the ongoing challenges of your daily life. It is an 8-week training program designed for people aged 13-19 to learn to manage difficult emotions  through their everyday life. In this course you will learn practices through fun activities based on mindfulness and self-compassion that will help you to navigate through emotional ups and downs of this life stage with greater ease.

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone. It’s a courageous attitude that allows us to embrace who we really are. And it’s easier than you think.

This 8 weeks program was adapted by Karen Bluth, PhD, and Lorraine Hobbs, M.A., from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion training (created by Kristin Neff, PhD and Christopher Germer, PhD) and has been endorsed by its authors. Primary scientific studies demonstrate 32% of reduction in depression for teens who practice self-compassion.

After participating in this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Practice self-compassion in daily life
  • Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Transform challenging relationships, old and new
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation 

What To Expect

Program activities include meditation, short talks, art and experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. It is said that “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.

MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 1,5 hours each. In order to benefit the most from the program it is highly recommendable that participants plan to attend every session and practice mindfulness and self-compassion every day throughout the program.


No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MFY. To insure safety, participants are asked to provide background information when they register for the program.


Maja Wrzesien has a PhD in clinical psychology, and she is a researcher in the field of emotion regulation, mindfulness and compassion at the University of Amsterdam. She is a certified mindfulness trainer and she is affiliated with UvA Minds You, an academic clinical center. Maja is also teacher in training of mindfulness self-compassion, and mindfulness self-compassion for teens programs.

Julia Biesters, MSc., works as a health care practitioner at UvA minds, academic treatment clinic for parents and children UvA minds and the academic training center UvA minds You. As a mindfulness trainer, she is experienced in working with children, teenagers and parents.

Registration  (trainings only take place with sufficient sign-ups)

Numbers of sessions: 8 Time: 17.30 – 19.00 Dates: 31/05, 7/06, 14/06 , 21/06, 28/06,  5/07, 12/7, 19/7

Language: English

Location: UvAminds You, Banstraat 29, 1071 JW Amsterdam

Number of participants: Minimum 5 and maximum 15 participants

Peaceful Mind Summer School at University of Amsterdam

Maja_Mindfulness Flyer 2018 (2)


As an academic director I am very happy to invite you to apply for the 3-week UvA Summer School: “Peaceful Mind: Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Interventions”. This summer programme provides an overview on the topic of emotion regulation and contemplative practices such as mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions, as a part of H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions founded project (Peaceful Mind: 656333).

For more details: or




Peaceful Mind project has been selected as the best success story for MSCA Individual Fellowship



Net4Mobility (an international network of National Contact Points (NCPs) of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) selected Peaceful Mind project as the best success story for MSCA Individual Fellowship. They produced a video to demonstrate the impact of this great grant on my research career and showcase the project.

Below you can find the results of their nice work!

Net4mobility success story