Compassion is something we're all capable of, and according to a new study published in Psychological Science, it can also be trained and developed over time. All you need is 30 minutes a day.
Photo by Hartwig HKD
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that learning compassion is like weight training, and people can learn to build up their "compassion muscle" to respond to others' suffering with care and a desire to help.
You will need to practise "compassion meditation", a daily 30-minute exercise. To get started, download the audio file used by the researchers and pop in your headphones. The guided meditation first to develop compassion for someone you love, then for yourself, then for a neutral party, and finally for an enemy, ending with compassion for all beings.
The study found that those who practised compassion meditation for 30 minutes a day, for two weeks, were more compassionate in dealing with others. Tests also showed increased compassion, including alterations in brain function observed with an fMRI scan.