Compassion comes with benefits; psychological, spiritual, and physical benefits. Formerly just a religious or philosophical ideal, compassion has become an area of scientific interest in recent years.
Why? What does it mean to be compassionate? What real good does it do you?
According to Dr. Deepak Chopra, a compassionate person is both kind and sympathetic; a value to those around him or her. This individual lives a tolerant, peaceful lifestyle, concerned with the problems and needs of others, offering him or herself up as a caring, proactive listener and helper.
Living your life this way has been shown to promote improved psychological well-being. If the increased activity in the pleasure centers of the brain are accurate, according to brain-imaging research, the idea that giving is “equally or more pleasurable than receiving” is true.
Chopra explains that compassion developed as we evolved. He notes that it’s an “alternative to selfishness” that is key to our health and survival. Very early in life, we discovered we feel better when we care for others. We’re calmer when we can alleviate someone else’s suffering.
Compassion research at both Harvard University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests that our initial desired interaction with others is to assist, not compete, with other people. The bond that connects us, and links our feelings to the feelings of others, goes beyond mental or emotional connection. Positive psychology even indicates that compassion increases disease recovery time, and improves life longevity.
Compassion research goes back more than three decades. From Harvard’s studies tracking the response to movies of Mother Teresa’s charitable work, to today’s modern assessment of compassion on inflammation levels in the body at UCLA, there is a clear difference between a life lived for one’s self (hedonic happiness) and the meaningful, altruistic happiness of compassionate living.
If stress and sickness are limiting your life, compassion and service to others may be the medicine your mind and body need.
Read the full article here: The Health Benefits of Practicing Compassion