What is compassion?
Compassion, as defined by Wikipedia, is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through actions, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for.
Compassion boosts your health
Research suggests that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better mental and physical health, speeds up recovery from disease and may even lengthen our life. Compassion may have ensured our survival because of its tremendous benefits for both physical and mental health and overall well-being.
Compassion makes you happy
Studies have shown that the pleasure centers of the brain are activated not only when we experience pleasure, but also when we serve or give to others in meaningful ways. A compassionate lifestyle may actually improve longevity by serving as a buffer against stress. Compassion also helps us to think about the suffering of others and can increase our well-being and happiness by broadening our perspective beyond ourselves.
Cultivate compassion with a morning ritual
Greet each morning with a ritual. Try this one, suggested by the Dalai Lama: “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”