compassion: the best medicine
compassion is an emotion that is typically characterized by feelings of care, concern, and empathy for others. the word compassion is based on the latin "passio" which means to suffer, added with the suffix "com," meaning together. compassion is literally suffering together. when we feel compassion for others, we feel deeply and identify with their situation, which often leads to helping in whatever way we can.
compassion can have a number of positive effects on our physical and mental health. one study found that people who felt compassion were more likely to have lower levels of inflammation. inflammation is a key factor in many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and arthritis.
compassion can also boost the immune system and promote better outcomes. research shows that when health practitioners offer reassurance, and listen actively, it calms patients, lowers blood pressure, and enables faster recuperation, reduced pain, and shorter hospital stays.
finally, evidence shows that compassion can boost well-being by increasing our sense of connection with each other. according to the Centers for Disease Control, in situations of toxic stress, creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are key to healing children and families suffering from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).
in The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama urges us to live a compassionate life and act with kindness towards ALL living beings because happiness will follow. happiness, in his opinion, is the purpose of life. compassion for humankind reminds us to live life responsibly, and kind.
the wisdom of compassion allows for openness and responsiveness. our hearts through authentic suffering with others can offer a warm embrace, giving strength and courage in a way that renews the spirit and summons the power of working toward our mutual wellness.
there are so many ways to create wellness without clinical procedures and prescriptions. walking the path with others and finding a way through shared moments to care and help will not only increase our health and fulfilment with each passing day. acts of compassion when and where it is needed serves the health and wellness of community.