Why Compassion? Why Meditation?
Why Practice Compassion?
Scientific research suggests that being compassionate can improve health, well-being, and relationships. Many scientists believe that compassion may even be vital to the survival of our species.
COMPASSION IMPROVES HEALTH & WELLBEING
- Compassion makes us feel good: It activates pleasure circuits in the brain, and compassion training programs, even very brief ones, strengthen brain circuits for pleasure and reward and lead to lasting increases in self-reported happiness.
- Being compassionate makes us healthier: tuning in to other people in a kind and loving manner—can reduce risk of heart disease by boosting the positive effects of the Vagus Nerve, which helps to slow our heart rate.
- Practicing compassion meditation lowers stress & builds resilience (by lowering stress hormones and boosting the immune system)
- Loving-kindness meditation leads to less mind wandering, worrying and ruminating which makes people feel happier
COMPASSION IMPROVES RELATIONSHIPS
- Compassion helps make more caring parents: When people experience compassion their brains scans show activation in systems known to support parental nurturance and other caregiving behaviors.
- Compassion helps make better spouses: Compassionate people are more optimistic and supportive when communicating with others.
- Compassion helps make better friends: Studies of friendships show that when one friend sets the goal to support the other compassionately, both friends experience greater satisfaction and growth in the relationship.
- Feeling compassion for one person makes us less vindictive toward others.
- Restraining feelings of compassion chips away at our commitment to moral principles.
- Employees who receive more compassion in their workplace see themselves, their co-workers, and their organization in a more positive light, report feeling more positive emotions like joy and contentment, and are more committed to their jobs.
- More compassionate societies—those that take care of their most vulnerable members, assist other nations in need, and have children who perform more acts of kindness—are the happier ones.
- Compassionate people are more socially adept, making them less vulnerable to loneliness; loneliness has been shown to cause stress and harm the immune system.