Compassion is as vital to life as the air we breathe! As per the Dalai Lama: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”. He believes that the emotional rewards of cultivating and practicing compassion work both for the receiver as well as for the giver. His enlightening statement is in fact supported by science.
When you are compassionate, you shift your focus from your own needs to those of others, try to truly understand their emotional state, wish to reduce or alleviate their suffering, and take action to do so.
Cultivating compassion is well worth it! It improves relationships and health, brings joy, promotes healing, slows your heart rate as it releases oxytocin – known as the “bonding hormone” – that lights up areas of your brain related to pleasure, and reduces stress.
How to practice compassion
Try these 8 simple ways to cultivate compassion in everyday life:
Perform acts of kindness: A simple gesture can brighten someone’s day and make you feel more connected to others. Kindness improves the self-esteem and well-being of those who offer it.
Avoid passing judgment: Most of us make automatic judgments about the others – our brains are wired this way simply because we don’t have enough time or energy to understand everything we see. Be aware of this natural tendency and, instead, try to put yourself is the other’s shoes and to understand or empathize with their perspective.
Express care and concern for others: Consciously notice and try to help alleviate the suffering of someone else – that’s what humanity is all about.
Give time to your loved ones: Allocate time to bond with your loved ones. Simple taking the time to listen uninterrupted goes a long way. Enjoying meaningful relationships is an essential component of happiness.
Encourage others: Motivate, compliments, and encourage others. Such a happiness boost will create a ripple effect!
Express gratitude: By reflecting on the things in your life that you appreciate, you will foster a sense of compassion for those less fortunate than you.
Volunteer: Look for opportunities that allow you to help your community. When you work to do good and to look after others without expecting anything in return, your happiness levels soar.
Practice self-compassion: No one is perfect, not even YOU – we all have our flaws and make mistakes. Be self-forgiving and treat yourself as you would a dear friend. Research has demonstrated that self-compassion is directly linked to increased well‐being and positive aging.
Today, reach out to someone close who you suspect to be struggling. Let them know that you are present for them. Truly listen to them, acknowledge their emotions, and try to find a way to help them. This simple act will make you yourself happier.
By showing a little more compassion, you will boost your well-being while contributing to a happier world. After all, we’re all in this life together.