Living a Compassionate Life

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By Laura Norman Special to The Pineapple “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – The Dalai Lama Compassion can be defined as one’s emotional response to suffering or unhappiness in another. It also involves an authentic desire to help alleviate that suffering. Why is compassion so important? Consider compassion’s tremendous benefits for our physical and mental health and our overall well-being. Connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better health, speeds up recovery from disease and, based on research by Stephanie Brown, at Stony Brook University and Sara Konrath at the University of Michigan, may even lengthen our lifespan. Living a compassionate life may also boost our well-being by increasing our sense of connection to others. Concern for others involves both an understanding of what another might be feeling and compassionate caring. Since compassionate caring is fostered by face-to-face contact, it’s important that we encourage more physical contact and less virtual contact with one another. People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression. Studies show that they also have higher self-esteem, are more empathic to others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. I have dedicated my life to helping people live exceptional lives physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually through my practice of Reflexology and Life Wellness coaching. The connections I have made are very fulfilling, and the results my clients experience are powerful, positive and long- lasting. As we begin a brand new year, here are some ways my clients have helped me discover toward living a compassionate life: Live the Passion in Compassion. Pursue your passion in life. It’s what makes life worth living, and gives our lives true meaning and purpose. Doing something you love creates a deep sense of joy. For some, compassion is the purpose of life, what gives it meaning, and what leads to ultimate happiness. Find a way to give back. We all want to feel our lives have value. Choose something that honors your beliefs and passions, while giving something back to the world. Your life will have meaning and purpose. If you can’t manage (or aren’t ready) to work on your passion for a living, make time for it every day. By working on your passion and becoming expert at it, the opportunity to make money from it will appear. “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” – Mary Anne Radmacher Focus. Balance your inner and outer focus. Inner focus is about paying attention to your values, intuition, and ways of responding. Outer focus involves knowing how to be present and develop empathic connections with others. The ability to focus on one person or thing to the exclusion of others – to be present – is a lost art among many today. Yet focus is a very important skill to have in life. It fosters greater happiness, better relationships, and increased productivity. Focus also makes your life feel simpler. You will find you have more time to do what fulfills you and gives your life meaning. Focus can also help reduce stress and make your overall life easier to manage. It really is a great feeling. Take some time right now to consider if your career and life’s trajectory are in alignment with your inner values and passions. Whatever path speaks to you, a life filled with compassion brings with it greater meaning, deeper satisfaction, stronger relationships and a heightened sense of well- being. “Compassion is the chief law of human existence.” – F Dostoyevsky Laura Norman, M.S., LMT, Holistic Reflexologist and author of the best-selling book, Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, offers private Reflexology and Life Wellness Coaching sessions and Holistic Reflexology Training Programs in Delray Beach , Massachusetts and New York City. Visit www.lauranorman.com • Call 561-272-1220