PsychologyToday

5 Ways to Do Good and Feel Good: Fast, Free, and From Your Desk

Compassion, in addition to making an incredible difference to those around you, is also one of the greatest secrets to health and happiness (as I described in this post). We know that helping others makes us feel good, but sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to engage in any kind of altruism. There is so much to do, …


PsychologyToday

Are women really more compassionate?

Yesterday, journalists at Huffington Post Live asked me to comment on whether women are more compassionate than men. Scientists in general tend to cringe at any strong black-and-white statements of this kind since we know there is no data to support such strong claims. If you ask a neuroscientist to distinguish a male from a female brain, for example, s/he would have a …


PsychologyToday

Compassion: Our First Instinct

Decades of clinical research has focused and shed light on the psychology of human suffering. That suffering, as unpleasant as it is, often also has a bright side to which research has paid less attention: compassion. Human suffering is often accompanied by beautiful acts of compassion by others wishing to help relieve it. What led 26.5 percent of Americans to …


PsychologyToday

The Best Kept Secret to Longevity: Love

Look younger! Feel more vibrant! Boost your stamina! Live Longer! Those are the promises made to us by marketing gurus about countless products from facial creams to dietary supplements, from the latest diet trend to the newest fitness fad. Psychological research, however, points us to a far greater (and less expensive!) secret to longevity. It is one that is often overlooked in our efforts …


PsychologyToday

The Unexpected Benefits of Compassion for Business

Managers often mistakenly think that putting pressure on employees will increase performance. What it does increase is stress—and research has shown that high levels of stress carry a number of costs to employers and employees alike. Stress brings high health care and turnover costs. In a study of employees from various organizations, health care expenditures for employees with high levels …


PsychologyToday

The Science Behind the Joy of Sharing

Positive experiences happen to us everyday yet we don’t always take full advantage of them. Have you ever noticed that it could be a great day (you had 8 hours of sleep, it’s the weekend, had a great conversation with a friend etc…) but that it takes just one harsh word from someone or one piece of bad news to ruin …


blog-reading-bodies-touching-minds

Reading Bodies, Touching Minds – How eye contact, facial expressions, and body language are the key to connection

Just by looking at someone, you experience them. Ever fallen in love at first sight or had a “gut feeling” about someone? You internally resonated with them. Ever seen someone trip and momentarily felt a twinge of pain for them? Observing them activates the “pain matrix” in your brain,research shows. Ever been moved by the sight of a person helping someone? You …


What does compassion look like

What Does Compassion Look Like?

Can you tell who is compassionate just by looking at them? According to a new study, yes. Imagine this: you walk into the laboratory, and are a shown a series of 20-second video clips. In each clip, a different person is listening to someone else speaking. You can’t hear what the speaker is saying; there is no sound to the …


blog-hugging-yourself

Hugging Yourself Reduces Physical Pain

Cheaper than a massage, and fewer side effects than popping pills: A new study reports that crossing your arms can significantly relieve pain. Twenty brave participants (12 of them women) allowed scientists to inflict pain via pulses of radiant heat from an infrared laser. The laser was aimed at the sensitive radial nerve of the forearm. During some bursts of …


The Power of Self-Compassion

The Power of Self-Compassion

The number one most emailed article on the New York Times, at the time I’m writing this, is a blog post by Tara Parker-Pope on the importance of self-compassion for making a change such as losing weight or quitting smoking. It is striking that the article is the most emailed — clearly it strikes a chord among the typical self-critical, …