We sometimes avoid compassion for self-interested reasons. Yet this study suggests that turning off compassion might work against self-interest by undercutting two things that we hold dear: our moral self and our moral standards.
We all have been held by a powerful relationship in our lives at one time or another, and those of us fortunate enough to experience that relational power in a business setting have usually seen the results that were delivered to be beyond what would have otherwise been possible.
As an exploding body of clinical research confirms that mindfulness helps reduce stress and promote healing, learning and neuroplasticity, a parallel line of study on the practice of loving-kindness has begun to converge with exciting new research on positive emotions and the brain.
My hope is that the G.R.A.C.E. model will help you to actualize compassion in your own life and that the impact of this will ripple out to benefit the people with whom you interact each day as well as countless others.
When did it become acceptable in America to treat helping strangers as "wasted time"? Everyone in the world agrees -- they should, anyway -- that time is our most precious commodity. But peoples' definitions of "wasted" are another great cultural divider.
What's critical to compassion is that it unites this understanding of others' distress with the motivation to alleviate that distress. Helping behavior further requires the cognitive and behavioral resources to act on that motivation.
Think about compassion like a radio dial. We can tune our compassion up or down, but where the dial lands will depend on our concerns about being overwhelmed and on how well we can control our emotions.
My task was to teach them how to become more compassionate using an accessible program of exercises. First, however, I had to convince them that it was worth their precious time to learn how to stop, settle the mind, and open the heart.
Compassion covers a broad range of emotional and behavioral constructs. We see compassion in the workplace daily, whether through helping a manager finish a task after hours, giving a new employee help, or offering banked sick time.