Grad. Students Feature Stories

Thriving Wellness is to Wake Up to the Present Moment



Before the exponential increase in the research and commercial interests of mindfulness, my journey with Anorexia Nervosa and Depression during my adolescence and being a sexual minority from a young age in a conservative Asian family had given me unique opportunities to discover ways to be in touch with life through Zen and contemplative practices. I had the first taste of empowerment and epiphany by being mindful and compassionately accepting my past challenges and being honest to myself for who I am. I also saw the challenges as something that happened for me rather than happened to me. In such a way, I uncover the sliver-linings in challenges and direct them to enrich my personal and professional growth. 


Consolidating what I have learnt throughout all these years of contemplative practices and mental health while witnessing the global interest in taking mind, body and spirit into the scientific realm, I felt the calling to share and create. This contributes to my personal growth and the holistic well-being of others as I continue to deepen my practice where challenges are inevitable in life, but suffering is optional. 


My doctoral research was spun across the onset and peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which was one of the most challenging times for all beings on Earth. Perhaps this was also a pivotal point for transformation and enlightenment. In my research, I developed and examined the effectiveness of tailored mindfulness and compassionate-based intervention to facilitate personal recovery among local Hong Kong community mental health service users. The post-intervention and maintenance effects of the tailored intervention were promising. I am grateful that my PhD studentship was funded by HKBU, the design of the tailored intervention came from translating experts' personal practices and teaching experiences, along with the key research findings arising from the mindful and honest sharing of the participants. 


A notable finding from my research is that appreciating the interconnectedness by facilitating mindful exchanges with compassionate support in the community was essential to maintain mindfulness and self-compassion practices to support personal recovery. Mindfulness and compassion practices promote inner strength to empower people who are facing psychological and physical health challenges to participate in their personal recovery journey. These practices further empowered them through thick and thin in life, beyond their recovery journey, to create a meaningful and satisfying life with hope, resilience and growth. 


It is important to note that mindfulness and compassion are not to be mistaken as panaceas. Instead, these are innate qualities that each of us can get in touch with to take better care of ourselves in our life journey that is full of exciting challenges. 


The present moment has always been the wonderful moment for waking up and start living again.



Dr. CHENG Daphne

Graduate of the PhD programme of the Department of Social Work. Currently a Post-doctoral Research Fellow of the Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research focuses on mental health, mindfulness, self-compassion and personal recovery.