Being compassionate is beneficial to others, but did you know the act of compassion also benefits your psychological and physical health?
Fredrikson et al (2008) conducted a study where participants were randomly assigned to practise loving kindness meditations - firstly directed towards themselves, then directed towards a loved one. The results of the experiment showed that participants who participated in compassionate meditation showed increased levels of daily happiness when compared to a control group.
The researchers state "these shifts in positive emotions took time to appear and were not large in magnitude, but over the course of 9 weeks, they were linked to increases in a variety of personal resources, including mindful attention, self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and good physical health. Moreover, these gains in personal resources were consequential: They enabled people to become more satisfied with their lives and to experience fewer symptoms of depression.
In addition to this, the group who participated in compassionate meditation experienced less depression, were in better physical shape, and had a better satisfaction with life than the control group.
The researchers state that "positive emotions produce success and health as much as they reflect these good outcomes."
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