What is compassion? Often confused with empathy, compassion is the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help. Empathy has the emotional experience of another person’s feelings but doesn’t necessarily include the key piece of wanting to help.
“The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose. - Gandhi” Nature of Nurture Compassion is certainly a naturally evolved trait. Dascher Keltner from Berkely’s GGSC points out that compassion would be a highly desired trait to keep the gene pool alive. Men want a woman who shows compassion as this translates to good mothering behavior and therefore a stronger chance at continuing the gene pool. In today’s dating world kindness is listed as one of the top 3 traits women want in a partner.
The good news is that compassion may start with a genetic spark but its flame can be easily fanned by participating in compassionate practices.
Quick Compassion Boosting Practices
1. Listen actively
2. Express gratitude
3. Be helpful
4. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee
5. Give someone the benefit of the doubt
6. Compliment someone
7. Do something good for the planet
8. Set an intention to be kind.
Deepak Chopra’s Global Meditation on Compassion On July 11th Deepak Chopra will host his second annual global meditation and this year it is focused on compassion. “Our intention for this Global Meditation is to become a collective force for compassion and reach a critical mass of half a million people joining together to create a more conscious, awakened world.”
Here are 7 steps to Compassion as described by Dr. Chopra
1. Connect with your inner-self
2. Know yourself; your obstacles, your areas of resistance, your anxieties
3. Deal with old wounds and release old negative emotions
4. Forgive your past
5. Accept where you are
6. Find tribe members to share your path
7. Give what you aspire to receive
Happiness is an act of compassion spreading up to 3 degrees UCSD study shows . Barbara Fredrickson has done some fabulous research on Loving Kindness meditations and has discovered change of inflammation at a cellular level after practicing. Want to try it? I challenge you to try it for 21 days (the approximate time it takes to create a habit) and see how great it feels.
If you know someone who could use a boost of positivity, please share this with them. Or if you have a story of how compassion helped you to be happier, I’d love to hear it in the comments.