Compassion meditation is a type of practice that can actually physically remodel the brain. The results of several studies confirm how practicing meditation can change your brain patterns to make you a nicer, happier person.
At the University of Madison Wisconsin, researchers tested the electrical activity of Buddhist monks during meditation compared with just sitting and doing nothing. The electrical brain waves of the meditators were off the charts, suggesting meditation has an impact on neurological occupation, versus just vegging out.
In another study at Emory University, a group of people meditated 30 minutes a day for two weeks. Results indicated key areas of the subjects’ brains had changed in addition to making them more generous. Researchers hooked up microphones and recorded the subjects at random times during the day and found they were saying nicer things to people.
Many studies also suggest compassionate people are healthier, popular and more successful at work than those of little or no compassion. So how can we become more compassionate?
In addition to your meditation practice, incorporate the following tips into your day-to-day life and stay on track as a nicer, happier and healthier person.
Focus on the positive
If you are in a situation that might cause a surge of stress and negativity like being stuck in traffic for example, take a moment to think of just one thing that you appreciate. The second you take your mind off of the things that make you angry is one less second of stress and strife. Practice this as often as you can and you’ll soon be feeling great most of the time, no matter the circumstance.
Trust you are not alone
We all have a tendency to blame someone else for our problems or harbor feelings of hatred for someone who we think has it easier than we do. But the reality is, we all struggle from time to time. When we realize this, we tend to let our guard down and be more open to sharing our feelings. And once we can get something off of our chest, we’ll feel so much happier as a result.
It is okay to be yourself
The Dalai Lama says no matter how much you practice compassionate meditation, there is still no guarantee that you will be happy one hundred percent of the time. Even he has a temper from time to time but adds that it is healthy to get angry once in a while. After all, we are human. So forgive yourself, don’t hold a grudge, move on and get back to feeling good as quickly as you can.
November 16th, 2011