By Laura Norman
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”– The Dalai Lama
Compassion can be defined as one’s emotional response to suffering or unhappiness in another. It also involves an authentic desire to help alleviate that suffering.
Why is compassion so important?
Consider compassion’s tremendous benefits for our physical and mental health and our overall well-being. Connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better health, speeds up recovery from disease and, based on research by Stephanie Brown, at Stony Brook University and Sara Konrath at the University of Michigan, may even lengthen our lifespan.
Living a compassionate life may also boost our well-being by increasing our sense of connection to others. Concern for others involves both an understanding of what another might be feeling and compassionate caring. Since compassionate caring is fostered by face-to-face contact, it’s important that we encourage more physical contact and less virtual contact with one another.