Written by Don Ingwerson.
Compassion – in today’s hurried lives, is it worth personal time, energy, and money it takes to express compassion? The answer in terms of common humanity is yes. But many may not know the health-giving effects of compassion and its accompanying feeling of happiness.
In “The Best Kept Secret to Happiness: Compassion,” Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D. discusses how people are constantly searching for happiness, and that giving of ourselves generates happiness within. Seppala is the Associate Director for the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, where she focuses on health psychology, well-being, and resilience. She has found that acts of compassion make other people happy, which in turn allows those who received compassion to express compassion in their own lives.
Dan Gilbert, host of This Emotional Life, a PBS broadcast, discusses the link between happiness and compassion and that there are many incorrect views about how to obtain happiness. Seppala shows though that “compassion and service don’t just make us happy but they also have a host of other associated benefits and they even contribute to a longer life.” Seppala also concludes from the research of Ed Diener and Martin Seligman that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps to cultivate better mental and physical health.
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