Can people learn to be more compassionate?

Compassion includes the ability to empathize with others. This ability to understand the suffering of others is an important part of inspiring pro-social behavior or the desire to help. The ability to feel compassion for another person also requires empathy and awareness. You need to be able to understand the problems facing another person and understand what it might look like in their position.

It is important to note that compassion is more than just empathy. Compassion helps people feel the feelings of others, but it also forces them to help others and relieve their pain. Until recently, scientists knew little about whether compassion can be cultivated or taught.

Use meditation to teach compassion

In a study published in the journal Psychological ScienceResearchers have found that not only can adults learn to be more compassionate, but teaching compassion can also lead to more altruistic behaviors, which actually leads to changes in the brain.

Evidence shows that not only can adults learn to be more compassionate, but learning to empathize can lead to lasting changes in a person’s thinking and behavior.

How exactly do researchers teach compassion? In this study, young people were taught to practice compassion meditation, an ancient Buddhist technique designed to increase care for people who are experiencing pain.​​

How does this meditation work? During meditation, participants were asked to imagine a moment when someone was suffering. Then they rehearsed hoping to relieve that person’s pain.

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Participants were also asked to practice and experience compassion for different types of people, starting with those they sympathized with, such as family members or close friends. Then, they are asked to practice compassion for strangers and people who are in conflict with them.

Another group of participants, the control group, received training in a technique called cognitive reassessment, in which people learn to reconstruct their thoughts to reduce negative emotions.

The researchers wanted to determine whether people could learn to change their habits in a relatively short period of time, so both groups of participants received 30 minutes of Internet training every day for two weeks.

Test compassion training

What impact did this compassion training have? How does it compare to the results of the control group?

The researchers wanted to know whether compassion training would help participants become more altruistic. Participants are asked to play a game where they can use their money to help another person in need. The game involves playing online with two other anonymous individuals, one is a “dictator” and the other is a “victim.” When participants see that the dictator is sharing unfair money with the victim, the participant can decide how much of his own money to share, and then redistribute the money between the dictator and the victim.

The results show that those who have received compassion training are more likely to use their money to help players who have been treated unfairly. This is an example of altruistic behavior. These participants were more likely to participate in this altruism than the control group who had received cognitive reassessment training.

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Compassion training changes the brain

Researchers also want to see how this kind of compassion training affects the brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after training, researchers can see how compassion meditation affects brain activity.

They observed that those participants who were more likely to show altruism after compassion training had increased brain activity in the lower parietal cortex, a brain area related to compassion and understanding of others. Other brain areas related to positive emotions and emotional regulation also showed increased activity.

Researchers believe that, like many other abilities, compassion is a skill that can be improved through practice.

Researchers believe that the results of this study provide exciting possibilities to help people build compassion, which has changed the lives of many people. Healthy adults are not the only ones who can benefit from this kind of training. Teaching children and adults compassion may help reduce bullying and help those who are struggling with social problems.

Teach the importance of compassion

Why is it important to know that compassion can be learned, even as an adult? Because compassion is a core component of many pro-social behaviors, including altruism and heroism. Before we take action to help others, it is important that we not only understand the individual’s situation, but also feel the motivation to alleviate their pain.

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According to some researchers, compassion involves three key aspects:

  • First, one must feel that the problem facing the other person is serious.
  • They must also believe that these troubles were not caused by themselves. When people think that a person’s plight is their own fault, they are less likely to develop empathy and help.
  • Finally, people must be able to imagine themselves in similar situations facing the same problems.

This may seem like a daunting task, but research shows that compassion is something we can learn from.

Not only can we learn how to become more compassionate, but developing this emotional ability can also guide us to take action and help those around us.

Very good sentence

In today’s busy world, it is easy to feel that people have lost contact. Sometimes, the shock of bad news can cause people to feel that they are powerless to change what is happening in the world.

However, research shows that compassion is a skill that can be learned and strengthened. Perhaps by learning how to increase our compassion, people can establish deeper and more meaningful connections with others, which inspire good work, beneficial actions, and simple human kindness.