Well-Being Practice: Sending Good Wishes to Others. Practicing Compassion.
There’s a growing body of research that documents the benefits of practicing compassion. In one research study from Stanford University, it was shown that after 9-week compassion training, the participants noticed “decrease in anxiety and an increase in calmness, likely due to participants tending to choose acceptance of the affective experience, regardless of whether they were negative or positive. At the same time, participants also reported more capability in meeting their goals for affective regulation.”
The practice of compassion as having four components:
1. Recognizing difficulties or suffering (either our own or others);
2. Noticing our innate desire to help those who are experiencing difficulties;
3. Recognizing that difficulties, suffering, and pain are part of the human condition;
4. Taking some step to alleviate or help.
This week, practice sending good wishes to a stranger. You can practice by silently repeating good wishes such as “May you be happy” or “May you know peace and joy.” Who you send the good wishes to isn’t important. The practice is just about cultivating a sense of understanding and feeling our common humanity. You can send good wishes to the random stranger you walk by on the street, the person standing behind you in the grocery line, or the driver in front of you who is also stuck in morning traffic. As you send good wishes to strangers, see if you notice any shifts or feelings arise.
List three people you’ll send good wishes to this week: