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
  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo