Compassion leads to a kinder world
Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ Think about your true motivation for doing something and ask yourself: “Am I acting in the best interest of others or myself?”
The way I see it, compassion leads to kindness. Once you can relate to another person’s suffering, it becomes instinctual – you can’t help but treat them with kindness. Mattieu Ricard explains why compassion is the key to a better world in his book, Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World.
Start each day with the intention to be kind
When is that last time you helped someone in need? Research demonstrates that by increasing your kindness and compassion, not only will you positively influence the people around you, but you will also become happier and healthier.
Beginning each day with the intention to be kind to others is an incredibly powerful way to live. If you need a reminder, Pema Chodron’s Compassion Cards, are a great place to start.
The health benefits of compassion
Studies show that when we feel compassion, we release the bonding hormone oxytocin, our heart rate slows down and parts of the brain light up that are linked to pleasure and empathy. This leads to our desire to care for others.
According to data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, brain scans taken during loving-kindness meditation suggest that compassionate people don’t focus as much on the negative aspects of their lives, or what might go wrong in the future. Overall, this results in greater life satisfaction.
Research suggests that compassion may even help you live longer. As reported in Psychology Today, “Sara Konrath, at the University of Michigan, discovered that people who engaged in volunteerism lived longer than their non-volunteering peers — but only if their reasons for volunteering were altruistic rather than self-serving.”
Compassion may seem like a simple solution, but if more people adapted a compassionate mindset, it would reshape the world. Just think of how many lives we can touch when we bond together in this common goal.
What role has compassion played in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments!