The Helper's Calm

The benefits of compassion

There have been numerous studies that show developing compassion and altruism has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health. A psychologist at Harvard University, showed students a video of Mother Teresa working among the poor and sick and the students reported that the video created feelings of compassion. The student's saliva was subsequently examined and an increase in immunoglobulin-A was found. Immunoglobulin-A is part of your immune system that is an antibody blood protein. Your body produces Immunoglobulin-A to help fight off sickness and respiratory infections. Another study was done at the University of Michigan showing that regular volunteer work and interacting with each other in a compassionate way increased longevity and good emotional health.

Many of the studies all in all show that lending a helping hand or empathizing with someone can be more of a benefit to the helper than the actual person who needs the help. It has shown to induce feelings of happiness, peace, and lessen depression. A survey was taken after several thousands of people were involved in volunteer activities that helped others and it revealed that over 90% reported feeling "high" after helping. They described it as a feeling of warmth and refueled their energy. They also had feelings of being more confident and peaceful. These caring acts provide emotional nourishment and a "helper's calm" that is linked to relieving stress.

However, you do not need studies to prove this. You can discover the truth of this view by practicing compassion, genuinely caring, or helping someone to see if you experience the "helper's calm."

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion" - Dalai Lama
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