The Science of Compassion

Healing requires not just food for body, but food for the soul too:

From Huffington Post by James R. Doty, MD:

The Science of Compassion

What exactly is compassion? Compassion is the recognition of another’s suffering and a desire to alleviate that suffering. Often brushed off as a hippy dippy religious term irrelevant in modern society, rigorous empirical data supports the view of all major world religions: compassion is good….

…As human beings, we will inevitably encounter suffering at some point in our lives. However, we also have evolved very specific social mechanisms to relieve that pain: altruism and compassion. It is not just receiving compassion that relieves our pain. Stephanie Brown, professor at SUNY Stony Brook University and the University of Michigan, has shown that the act of experiencing compassion and helping others actually leads to tremendous mental and physical well-being for us as well. While survival of the fittest may lead to short-term gain, research clearly shows it is survival of the kindest that leads to the long-term survival of a species. It is our ability to stand together as a group, to support each other, to help each other, to communicate for mutual understanding, and to cooperate, that has taken our species this far. Compassion is an instinct. Recent research shows that even animals such as rats and monkeys will go through tremendous effort and cost to help out another of its species who is suffering. We human beings are even more instinctually compassionate; our brains are wired for compassion. (read more)

More on Beyond Meds about compassion and how it can heal:

●  Neuroscience of change, another take on neuroplasticity: self-compassion and awareness to start

●  The Science of Self-Compassion

●  Empathy

●  Compassion is a kind of fire


Books on the topic:

●  Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind — Kristin Neff

●  The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions — Christopher K. Germer PhD

●  The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are — Brene Brown

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