(WXYZ) – A new study from the University of Rochester has found that compassionate acts among spouses may have more benefits for the giver than the receiver.
The current Dalai Lama has said that “compassionate concern for others’ welfare enhances one’s own affective state”.
A team of psychologists at the University of Rochester decided to test this out.
For two weeks, they had 175 newlywed couples keep track of compassionate acts and emotional states in a daily dairy.
Researchers found when a spouse was the giver, they benefited roughly 45 percent more than the receiver. The person receiving didn’t even have to notice the kind act for the giver to benefit emotionally.
When you act or respond to someone with compassion, it makes you happier. Studies have found it lowers blood pressure, increases self-esteem and can lessen stress and depression.
You don’t have to be married to benefit.
Here are my prescriptions on ways to experience the joy of compassion:
- Do a small act of kindness for a friend, a stranger or someone at work. Be sure to notice how you feel afterwards.
- Try little things like letting someone go ahead of you in the checkout line, or buying the person’s coffee in-line behind you. You’ll feel a sense of joy that money can’t buy.
- Other compassionate acts include changing your personal plans for someone else, and showing love and tenderness. You’ll feel firsthand how generosity trumps selfishness in the long run.
- Volunteer. Study after study shows the effects of volunteering improves well-being and life satisfaction.
You can develop compassion. To increase these feelings, try “loving kindness meditation” where you repeat phrases like “may you have joy and ease”.
Research has shown changes in brain structure and demonstrate that you can learn to respond to others with care and a desire to help.
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