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  • Shahana Alibhai

WHY IS COMPASSION IMPORTANT?

We’ve always been told to be compassionate towards others and how it’s beneficial. But why is compassion so important? Keep reading to find out.



WHAT IS COMPASSION?

Before we start discussing why compassion is important, let’s understand exactly what compassion is. According to Psychology Today, compassion is defined as “an empathic understanding of a person's feelings, accompanied by altruism, or a desire to act on that person's behalf.”


The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study on time affluence. They compared the time spent by four different groups -

  1. The first group spent time on themselves.

  2. The second group could actively waste time.

  3. The third group got some “extra” time.

  4. The last group was asked to serve others.


The result showed that spending time on others increased one’s feeling of time affluence. The small acts of compassion, where they actively helped someone else, gave them the feeling of having more time compared to the other groups. This shows that when you spend time helping others, it leaves you with a sense that you have more time, not less.




Compassion is when you relate to the situation someone is facing and want to help them. Whether you volunteer at an NGO, help someone cross the road, or simply hold the door open for someone, an act of compassion can be anything. Those unexpected gestures, like buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you or adding a couple of extra cans for a food donation. The key message here is that these are small gestures that are within all of our capacities.


Here is a simple way I practise compassion - If a patient is lying down on the bed, and I know they have back problems or hip issues, I hold out my hand to help them sit back up.




BENEFITS OF COMPASSION.

We always talk about service, compassion, and gratitude as serving or helping somebody else. What struck me is that, in reality, you are the one benefiting. Let’s look at why there is so much importance around being compassionate and how it benefits you.


1. Reduces anxiety.

2. Increases empathy.

3. Improves attention to surroundings.

4. Boosts your concentration levels.

5. Increases happiness.

6. Greater optimism.

7. Leads to a positive mood.

8. Decreases stress.

9. Stronger personal initiative.

10. Increases agreeableness.

11. Improves conscientiousness.

12. Leads to better relatability.




WHY YOU SHOULD PRACTICE COMPASSION.

1. Compassion helps build social relations. It widens your perspective, and you realise the similarities between yourself and others.


2. When you help someone else, you take your mind off your problems and focus on others. This leads to improving your overall sense of well-being.


3. Helping others makes you happy and content with yourself. It gives you a sense of purpose and leaves you feeling more fulfilled in life.


4. Various studies have shown that compassion improves your overall health. The act of helping someone else lowers your blood pressure, reduces anxiety, and improves your overall mood.


5. Being compassionate is contagious. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, you are benefitting too in more ways than one.


6. When you are compassionate and help others, you gain a sense of calm and inner peace.


7. Compassion leads to improving your Emotional Quotient (EQ). This is because instead of yourself, you are focusing on the needs of others and looking for ways in which you can help them.



HOW TO PRACTICE COMPASSION.

1. Always be kind.

2. Don’t hesitate to apologise.

3. Listen carefully and without judgement.

4. Encourage others.

5. Offer to help someone with a task.

6. Be happy for someone else's success.

7. Accept people for who they are.

8. Forgive others when they make a mistake.

9. Respect everyone around you.

10. Express gratitude and appreciation.


Compassion allows you to feel what others are going through and helps you better understand those around you. It helps you find ways in which you can give and help others with their problems. And remember, when you help others, you benefit too.


If you, a friend, or a family member, are facing any struggles or looking for assistance to understand your problems better, feel free to ask me your questions here - https://bit.ly/3uFL7Yf.


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