THE BENEFITS OF COMPASSION

It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing about a war, gun violence, hate and other bad behavior.
If the bad news and bad behavior is getting you down, it’s time to turn up the compassion. Compassion it turns out, may be even better for the giver than for the receiver.


COMPASSION AND HEALTH

It’s hard to argue with science. If you need an excuse to act with more compassion, you can use one of the following reasons.


  • A brain imaging study by the National Institute of health determined that the brain pleasure centers are as activated when we see money going to a charity - as it is when money is given to us. Donate to charities.
  • A study reported in Science magazine reported that people tend to be happier when they give money to others, rather than spend it on themselves. Be generous.
  • Another study found that seeing people helping each other creates a sense of “elevation.” Help others.
  • Harvard experts demonstrated that generosity and kindness can spread out to others as a chain reaction. Try random acts of kindness.
  • Several studies show that people who help others, and who maintain a connection to others, are healthier and more resistant to illness. Be kind.
  • Infants automatically (without being taught) show helpful behavior. Learn from babies.
  • A recent study showed than infants’ pupils dilate when they see someone in need. Pupil dilation in infants is a sign of concern. The infants’ pupils returned to normal size when the infant saw someone helping the person in need. Lend a hand.
  • Another study by the University of Buffalo showed that compassion was a buffer against stress, and we also know that stress is linked to higher mortality rates. Compassion is good for you.


LIVING WITH COMPASSION

Religions of all types teach compassion. Do you live with compassion? Being compassionate means you:
  • Act as a sympathetic listener
  • Appreciate how other people feel
  • Are more accepting of others
  • Let go of judgment
  • Renounce anger and aggression
  • Try to help in difficult situations
  • Work to maintain a harmonious, peaceful atmosphere at home and at work.

COMPASSION IS NOT THE SAME
AS HAPPINESS


Research conducted by UCLA and the University of North Carolina showed that, “people who were happy because they lived a life of pleasure (also known as “hedonic happiness”) had high inflammation levels, while people who were happy because they lived a life of purpose or meaning (also known as “eudaimonic happiness”) had low inflammation levels.” High inflammation is linked to stress and illness.

So? Get your compassion on!
It’s good for you and good for the planet.



© 2016 UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Privacy Notice and Consent