Advertising
Advertising

Train Your Brain To Feel More Compassion In A Way Most People Don’t Know

Train Your Brain To Feel More Compassion In A Way Most People Don’t Know

Compassion is arguably one of the most important tools that any human being should possess and utilize. It can be hard though. There are some people that you just don’t feel compassionate for. They’ve annoyed you, they’ve done something to upset you, whatever it is — sometimes there’s a reason, and it feels justified to feel no compassion towards those people.

Wouldn’t it be of great benefit to you to be able to feel more compassion towards these people, and everyone else, in general?

Well luckily for you, and everyone you come across, there is. Thanks to a study conducted by a variety of psychologists, we now have a real, tangible theory to strengthening our compassion. This study included compassion not only for people that the test subjects liked, but also the people they weren’t so fond of.

Advertising

The theory behind it basically tells us that compassion is like a physical muscle. The more you use it, the more aware of your compassionate nature you are. Much like exercising a physical muscle, exposing it to more and more challenges will strengthen it.

So the simple solution to strengthening our compassion is basically using it. This requires a heartfelt mindfulness about you though, as the opportunity to not only show compassion but be aware of your compassion can easily be missed. That’s why the previously mentioned study utilized a form of meditation, named “compassionate meditation.”

To expand upon the simple solution, here are some actionable steps that you can take right now to begin cultivating ‘more’ compassion:

Advertising

Practice Guided Meditation

The study cited above referred to a specific guided meditation they used. Luckily for everyone, they shared the files for this guided meditation. All you’ve got to do is give your name and email here, and you’ll get an email with the files.

Try Standard Meditation

Guided meditation isn’t for everyone. A voice in your ear doesn’t always bring people to that place of peace, so if the guided meditation wasn’t for you, give standard meditation a shot. If you don’t know how, give this a read.

Cultivate Mindfulness

Allow that meditation to seep into your day. Catch yourself every time you think of another, or judge another, and relate to their situation. Be mindful at every opportunity. Stay present.

Advertising

Spend Time Relating to Others

Dedicate a time every day, similar to dedicating time to meditation each day, to simply ponder upon the situation of others. Understand why you feel compassionate towards one situation, and apathetic towards another. When you realise that everyone is going through their own unique situation, as complex as your own, every day — compassion often becomes second nature.

Act Compassionately

Go beyond just feeling compassion, but begin living in compassion. Do something nice for the sake of it. Observe how others react to your compassionate nature. Cultivate the compassion. It’s infectious, pass that compassionate nature on to all that you can. (Pay it forward!)

And that should be plenty to begin your compassion work-out. Now all you’ve got to do is stick at it. Much like going to the gym every day, week, or whatever, you need to incorporate your compassion exercises into your day too!

Advertising

You’ll find that as you practice it more, the more it becomes a reflex. You’ll begin to relate to people’s situations out of habit.  Not only will you become more compassionate, but a beautiful by-product of your mindfulness practices is that your appreciation will grow. Life will inevitably take on more beauty, as you notice and relate to more of it.

So pay it forward, smile at people, tell them you love them, and remember that everyone out there is living their life — just like you.

If you have anything to add, please drop it in the comment section below.

Featured photo credit: Unknown via quotesfrenzy.com

More by this author

19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way 13 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Anxiety 10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True 11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Trending in Communication

1 What Is Self Actualization? 13 Traits of a Self-Actualized Person 2 Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression 3 20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die 4 How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide) 5 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

Advertising

• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

Advertising

Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

Advertising

One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

Advertising

Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

Read Next