Benefitting your health with positive actions, what a concept!! Jumping on the “compassion” bandwagon may help you derive a healthy advantage.
When you live with health-related issues like celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, IBS, allergies, and other health challenges, your life seems to revolve around taking medications, intensely focusing on eating the right food or figuring out what to do if you’ve had an exposure to food you shouldn’t be eating. This can definitely increase your stress on a daily basis.
Here’s a novel idea, help yourself by being a compassionate person! It turns out that being kind, empathetic and sympathetic to others can bring health benefits to you!! It’s been shown that a compassionate lifestyle leads to greater psychological well-being. For example, the act of giving is often more pleasurable than receiving.
New research at UCLA and the University of North Carolina evaluated the levels of cellular inflammation in people who describe themselves as “very happy”. Inflammation is suspected to be at the root of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, asthma and other disease states and usually high in people who live with a lot of stress. The research showed a clear distinction between very happy folks who lived a hedonistic life (self pleasure) and those who were very happy because they lived a life of “meaning and purpose” through helping others. The latter group had significantly less inflammation.
Connecting with others in a meaningful way appears to help us enjoy better physical and emotional health, speeds up recovery from disease and may even lengthen our lives. Talk about a win, win!
How can you start to live a more compassionate lifestyle? Try these ideas:
- Let go of judgment
- Be more accepting of others
- Appreciate how other people feel (walk in their shoes)
- Be a sympathetic listener (don’t have to “fix” anything)
- Avoid anger or aggression
- Consciously work to maintain a harmonious, peaceful atmosphere at home and at work.
Lastly, and so important, practice self-compassion, being kind and understanding, rather than judging or criticizing yourself!!!
Improve your health and reduce stress through compassionate living!!!