Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

October 7, 2013

The Good Life: Relieving suffering

CROSSVILLE — We need compassion because life is hard. However, human suffering is often accompanied by others helping to relieve it. What leads one-quarter of Americans to volunteer? What propels someone to serve food at a homeless shelter, pull over on the highway in the rain to help someone with a broken down vehicle or feed a stray cat?

Among emotion researchers, compassion is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and then feel motivated to relieve that suffering. Compassion boosts our well-being as it broadens our perspective beyond ourselves. Research shows that depression and anxiety are linked to a state of self-focus, a preoccupation with “me, myself, and I.” When you do something for someone else,  that state of self-focus shifts to a state of other-focus.

Helping is contagious: acts of generosity and kindness beget more generosity in a chain reaction of goodness. We may not know it, but by uplifting others we are also helping ourselves; research shows that happiness spreads and that if the people around us are happy, we in turn become happier. Feeling compassion for one person makes us less vindictive toward others. More compassionate societies — those that take care of their most vulnerable members, assist other nations in need and have children who perform more acts of kindness — are the happier ones.

We often talk about some people as being more compassionate than others, but research suggests compassion can be learned and strengthened through targeted exercises and practice. Here are some tips that have emerged out of compassion training programs, as well as other research.

• Look for commonalities: Seeing yourself as similar to others increases feelings of compassion.

• Calm your inner worrier: When we let our mind run wild with fear in response to someone else’s pain (e.g., What if that happens to me?), we inhibit the biological systems that enable compassion. Calming yourself facilitates compassion.

• Encourage cooperation, not competition.

• Don’t play the blame game: When we blame others for their misfortune, we feel less tenderness and concern toward them.

• Respect your inner hero: When we think we’re capable of making a difference, we’re less likely to curb our compassion.

• Notice and savor how good it feels to be compassionate.

• To cultivate compassion in kids, start by modeling kindness.

• Curb inequality: Research suggests that as people feel a greater sense of status over others, they feel less compassion.

"That it is a bad thing to be tortured and starved, humiliated or hurt, is not an opinion; it is a fact. That it is better for people to be loved and attended to, rather than hated or neglected, is again a plain fact, not a matter of opinion." — G. J. Warnock

May you find what I have reported interesting and something you can use in your life. I invite you to email me your thoughts (lgorenflo@gmail.com).

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Habitat-Group photo-Crisp Dedication .jpg Habitat celebrates 55th home dedication

    Anne Crisp is excited that she and her two daughters have a home to call their own. Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH) dedicated the 55th home to be built in partnership with low-income families. Crisp put more than 500 hours of "sweat equity" into her home and has completed 50 hours of self-improvement, where she attended classes on budgeting, home maintenance and good neighbor among others.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gypsy Rose to visit Fair Park

    The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently performing the award-winning Broadway play “Gypsy.” A great American story set during the 1920s fading vaudeville circuit, "Gypsy" portrays the rise of famed burlesque performer and stage mother Gypsy Rose Lee as she journeys across the country with her mother and sister during a time when Vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. The complex character of Rose could be described as bold and brassy, as she steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters June and Louise into child stars.

    July 28, 2014

  • plateau gardening-springBlooms4361.jpg Match August garden tasks to plant biology

    During all seasons in temperate climates like ours the greenery around us is changing. New shoots appear and leaves pop out of swollen buds after spring rains.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pleasant Hill Ramblings.jpg Landis reunites with Japanese teacher

    There is a special lady living in Pleasant Hill who spent 42 years of her life in Sendai, Japan, teaching English at a Japanese Christian school and as a missionary with the United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lion of Year.jpg Lions Club recognizes Lion of the Year

    Charles Loveday, charter member of the Crossville Lions Club, was recognized as the Lion of the Year at the annual installation of officers picnic July 8. Loveday earned this award for his service as first vice president, membership chairman, eye glass chairman and his help with fundraisers and other matters where needed. From left are Loveday and President Gary Laura.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014

  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014