Scientific evidence shows that we can teach our brains to feel more compassion, both for others and ourselves. Imagine how the world might be…
With practice, it’s thought that compassion can be enhanced and this will increase the likelihood of a person exhibiting helping behavior–not only during the meditation practice, but out in the real world, when interacting with others.
In a study my colleagues and I conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (directed by Dr. Richard J. Davidson), participants were taught to generate compassion for different categories of people, including both those they love and “difficult” people in their lives. Doing these kinds of exercises is a little like weight training–the compassion “muscle” is strengthened by practicing with people of increasing difficulty, like increasing weights over time.
BY Helen Weng