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Compassion is good for mental and physical health

By Jean Davenport-Niles

Let’s talk… Compassion is good for mental and physical health “Compassion is essentially the wish that beings do
not suffer — from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to intense agony — combined with feelings
of sympathetic concern”, states author Abigail Fagan. Compassion involves wanting to take steps to help relieve other’s suffering. The word compassion means “to suffer together”. It is what happens when feelings of empathy are accompanied by the desire to help. Signs of Compassion:
• Feeling like you have a great deal in common with other people.
• Being able to understand what other people are going through and feeling their pain.
• Taking action when you see that someone else is suffering.
• Feeling gratitude when other people express compassion for your own hardships.
How to Practice Compassion
• Speak with kindness and show respect
• Apologize when you’ve made a mistake
• Listen carefully and without judgment
• Encourage others
• Offer to help someone with a task
• Be happy for someone else’s success
• Accept people for who they are
• Forgive people for making mistakes
• Express gratitude and appreciation
Compassion can have a positive impact on your life, ranging from improving your relationships to boosting your overall happiness. Kendra Cherry, researcher, stares some of the positive effects of compassion:
• Giving feels good: Both giving and receiving can improve your psychological
well-being. Researchers have found that giving money to others
who need it actually produces greater happiness rewards than spending it on
• Compassionate people live longer: One study found that people who
volunteer out of concern for others tend to live longer than people who do
not volunteer.
• Compassion contributes to a life of purpose: One study found that the
happiness that comes from living a life of purpose and meaning—one that is
fueled by kindness and compassion—can play a role in better health.
• Compassion improves relationships: Research suggests that compassion
is a key predictor of the success and satisfaction of relationships.
How to Be More Compassionate
• Bring your attention to the situation: Practice walking in someone
else’s shoes and how that might feel.
• Do not judge: Focus on accepting people for who they are without
• Use loving prayer: This involves seeking kind, compassionate
thoughts toward yourself or others. Let compassion be magnified in your
mind, body and soul.
Many people in your daily path can benefit from focused listening with
actions. Perhaps asked others what you might do to help them have a better
day or week. Try talking to your waiters, smiling at strangers in line at the
store, assisting elderly people needing help with groceries in the parking lot,
thanking those who support you, etc. Spread kindness wherever you go. It
will make a difference in their day and in yours too.

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