a compassionate heart is a healthy heart!
that a compassionate heart is a healthy heart! In the book, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World: The Book of Joy (by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu), they speak of compassion often. RESEARCH HAS SHOWN AGAIN AND AGAIN
“Compassion,” they agree, “is so fundamental to our survival that children as young as six months have been shown to have a clear preference for toys that reflect helping rather than hindering. When we help others, we often experience what has been called the ‘helper’s high,’ as endorphins are released in
Cellular inflammation in the body is at the root of cancer and other diseases, and a life of meaning and purpose, rich in compassion and altruism, says one study, leads to lower inflammation and longer lifespans.
our brain, leading to a euphoric state. The same reward centers of the brain seem to light up when we are doing something compassionate as when we think of chocolate. The warm feeling we get from helping others comes from the release of oxytocin, the same hormone that is released by lactating mothers. This hormone seems to have health benefits, including the reduction of inflammation in the cardiovascular system. So compassion literally makes our heart healthy and happy.” Here are some other benefits to becoming a more compassionate human being:
Compassion is a buffer against stress. A study at the University of Michigan discovered that “people who engaged in volunteerism lived longer than their non-volunteering peers, but only if their reasons for volunteering were altruistic rather than self-serving.”
Compassion also boosts our health and well-being because it helps broaden our perspective beyond ourselves. Research shows that depression and anxiety are linked to a state of self-focus— when all we think about is “what’s good for me?”
Another way in which compassion may boost our health is by increasing a sense of connection to others. One study found that lack of social connection is worse for your health than obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure. w
For more information on compassion and your health, visit www.psychologicalscience.org.
February 2020 Lake Norman Woman Magazine