Compassion is embedded in our psychological and neurological makeup as human beings. This is supported by an ever-growing body of research. Check out the articles below to learn more!
Compassion and Wellbeing During Contentious Times: Stories of Our Best Selves
In contentious times, having links to positive stories offers healthy alternatives. Kelly McGonigal, PhD provides us with a simple way to bring balance into our lives through experiencing the stories of others. People just like us, who struggle with the barrage of contentious media ultimately persevere by being their “best selves”. This sharing of stories helps us reconnect and recognize a common humanity in others. Studies show that when we connect to our best selves, not only do we feel better, we are also able to experience awe, gratitude, and self-transcendence. The good medicine of moral elevation can bring about feelings of hopefulness and reduce sadness and anxiety. Reference: McGonigal, Kelly. (2016, October 26). How You Can Find the Good in a Nasty Election Cycle. (for full article see below).
Take a moment and enrich yourself with an audio or video story at the links below. Better still, become a source of inspiration and wellbeing by sharing these stories with family and friends.
How You Can Find the Good in a Nasty Election Cycle
by Kelly McGonigal, PhD, syndicated from Greater Good
Finding Empathy Across the Political Divide
by Danielle B. Grossman, MFT, published online by Psych Central
What Mindfulness is Missing
by Kira M. Newman, syndicated from Greater Good
Why We Should Teach Empathy to Preschoolers
by Shuka Kalantari, syndicated from Greater Good
Why Kindness Heals
by James R. Doty, MD
Research Findings on Compassion Training
1. Preventing the Mind from Random Wandering
A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind (Full Text)
Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert
A wandering mind is a less caring mind: Daily experience sampling during compassion meditation training
Hooria Jazaieri, Ihno A. Lee, Kelly McGonigal, Thupten Jinpa, James R. Doty, James J. Gross & Philippe R. Goldin
Formal compassion training decreases the tendency of mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself.
2. Change in Brain Structure
Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise (FULL TEXT)
Antoine Lutz mail, Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, Tom Johnstone, Richard J. Davidson
These data indicate that the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli.
3. Stress Reduction
Effect of Compassion Meditation on Neuroendocrine, Innate Immune and Behavioral Responses to Psychosocial Stress (FULL TEXT)
Thaddeus W.W. Pace, Ph.D.,a Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Ph.D.,b Daniel D. Adame, Ph.D.,c Steven P. Cole, Ph.D.,d Teresa I. Sivilli, A.B.,e Timothy D. Brown, M.P.H.,fMichael J. Issa, B.S.,e and Charles L. Raison, M.D.
These data suggest that engagement in compassion meditation may reduce stress-induced immune and behavioral responses.
4. Treatment of Psychological Problems
Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation: Potential for Psychological Interventions
Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph.D., Paul Grossman, and Devon E. Hinton
They are potentially useful strategies for targeting a variety of different psychological problems that involve interpersonal processes, such as social anxiety, marital conflict, anger, and coping with the strains of long-term caregiving.
Loving-kindness meditation for posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study
Kearney DJ1, Malte CA, McManus C, Martinez ME, Felleman B, Simpson TL.