Compassion: The Ultimate Tool to Improve Your Quality of Life
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
~ Dalai Lama
Compassion holds the power to benefit the giver and its receiver. Compassion marks the selfless and heroic deeds like those of- Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and many others. Compassion is a requisite for meaningful land a quality life.
With so much good to offer compassion indeed is a concept worthy to learn and implement in life.
Definitely we all show compassion to others around us in one way or the other. But, is your act a true demonstration of compassion? Well, according to Cassell (2009) there are three requirements for compassion:
- “The troubles that evoke our feelings and serious;”
- “The sufferers’ troubles not be self-inflicted-that they be the result of an unjust fate;” and
- “ We must able to picture ourselves in the same predicament”
To simplify it, compassion is a response that occurs under serious, unjust, and relatable situations and calls forth a certain level of empathy, awareness and concern. So, if your act fits into these criteria then YES you sure have compassion!
Apart from this, here is a small example for you to test your compassion:
Have you ever helped an old lady or man to carry heavy weight while you are on your way to something else?
Did you let a woman or man with a little kid take the first chance in the grocery store billing line while you had your own big cart waiting to be billed?
If your answer to any of the two or both the situations presented above is a YES then, Tap on Your Back, the seeds of compassion are blooming within you!
Recent researches in the field of positive psychology have found compassion as a better predictor of quality of life than mindfulness (Dam et.al. 2011). But, that’s not it! Compassion has a lot more to offer than improving our quality of life. Some of the key benefits offered by it are:
- Compassion marks happiness and it reduces the symptoms of depression
- HIV survival has a positive and long-term correlation with compassionate love
- Seppala and James suggest that compassion promotes social connections, opening ways to happiness
- Compassion works as a buffer against anxiety and leads to an increased level of psychological well-being as suggested by a study (Neff, 2007)
- Compassion improves cooperation and promotes better learning
- Practicing compassion has many psychological benefits to offer like- reduced PTSD symptoms, lower levels of psychopathology, decreased substance abuse effects, to name a few
- Most importantly compassion is found to boost higher level of well-being
With so much to offer we bet you would like to make compassion the ultimate tool of your life that will improve your overall quality of life. To help you with the same here are the fantastic five ways in which you can welcome this practice in your life-
Extend Your Help
Helping others or engaging in activities that will serve others are true ways to practice compassion. Altruism asks for moving out of one’s comfort zone, understanding other person’s suffering and still offering help. This practice will also help you improve your self-esteem and overall well-being.
Listen Without Judgement
An ear of judgement can cause hindrance in being compassionate. Therefore, judgement should be kept at bay. Allow yourself to know the factors that have led a person to act in a certain manner. Then, consider yourself in the similar situation and think over how you would fare through the same. This indeed will promote compassion. Rachel Naomi, considers “generous listening” as a gateway to compassion which will enable you to hear everyone.
Treat Them Right
Compassion can be understood and practiced in light of the golden rule-
“Treat others as you would want to be treated”
By doing so you demonstrate exemplary compassion. It allows you to understand how the other person would like to be treated in a given situation and gives you a chance to avoid any act that might cause distress in his life.
Consider All Perspectives
Seeing things from one perspective not only portrays the half story but also blurs compassion. Therefore, change in perspective is required in order to understand the needs of the other person and expand our own awareness.
Practicing gratitude can boost your compassion. Starting from being grateful for waking up, able to see another day of your life and ending it by reflecting on your whole day, you can cultivate compassion from within. It also helps you to count all of your blessings which you can think of while helping someone who is suffering, and compassion will automatically trigger.
Brownie Tip: Pigeon Pose is found to strengthen compassion as staying in this uncomfortable pose forces you to be aware of your own courage (McGonigal).
Time to go beyond the understanding of another person’s suffering, practice compassion, and enhance the quality of life.
Try and extend your kindness once a week to someone in need and see the positive change that it brings in your life. You can also share the same with us in the comment section below.
More compassion to you…
Tip: You can also read Dalai Lama’s teachings on compassion. He has talked intensively about what it is, what it is not and the benefits that it has to offer.
“Compassion is the radicalism of our time”
~ Dalai Lama