4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

health benefits

Compassion…Good for Your Health, Good for the Planet

The word compassion has a Latin origin meaning “to suffer with”. Several dictionaries offer variations of the definition of compassion as “the act of feeling pity for the suffering of others”. I was surprised to read that the word suffering is attached so commonly to compassion—from my perspective, compassion is reaching out to others in a caring, kind, and generous manner. Compassion is a way of being that brings balance to the world and joy to those giving and receiving the sentiment.

Compassion opens the way for acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness; I suppose from that perspective, there is an element of “feeling pity for one’s suffering”, even if that “suffering” is experienced personally. Nonetheless, cultivating compassion as a readily available emotion is a practiced skill — the more often compassion is evoked, the more familiar that emotion becomes and the more readily it is accessible to you as a response. When we are able to share a compassionate response with ourselves and others, we spread joy and bring balance. Personal health benefits are noted as well: decreased inflammatory markers, quieter brain activity, lowered pressure in the blood vessels, and an enhanced immune system. That makes sense, doesn’t it?  Responding with kindness, caring, and generosity is healing and soothing emotionally and physically.

These two websites offer more information about the practice and benefits of compassion:

Compassion Rx

Self Compassion

“Robin’s continual encouragement to pick a quit-smoking date inspired me to finally do it. She gave me the tools and strategies I needed to become a successful non-smoker!”
—Kathy D., client

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