Practicing COMPASSION is literally one of BEST things we can do for ourselves and the people around us. ESPECIALLY as we approach the 1 year mark of the Pandemic / lockdown life in Canada and Internationally.
Compassion helps us navigate stress, fear and pain with acceptance, kindness, friendliness and love. It is rooted in the heart, and literally improves our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
When we practice compassion, we tone the vagus nerve (that connects the brain, heart and organs), releasing oxytocin into the body, helping us feel better and more relaxed. By shifting from our sympathetic nervous system (reactivity/stress response of fight/ flight/ freeze) into our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxed response of rest/ digest), we lower our heart rate and blood pressure, reduce inflammation + strengthen our immune system.
I don’t know about you – that sounds like a great reason to practice compassion to me!
As we learn to befriend and soothe our pain, fears and stress, we’re able to truly hold space for the people around us. By practicing self-compassion, when we’re in the presence of someone in pain/ stress, we’re able to open to love, be present to the situation and feel concern for them as we recall how we soothe and support ourself during times of pain/ stress. From this space of awareness we’re more likely to greet the person with kindness and warmth, cultivating a sense of connection instead of division.
As Brene Brown explains: “Self-compassion is key [to wholehearted living]. When we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of… [fear] we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy.”
For me, compassion allows GRACE + SPACE to notice how I am FEELING and to take whatever steps I need to support my wellbeing… so I can continue to show up fully for my clients, family, friends and community.
I feel we can ALL use a bit more COMPASSION, GRACE + SPACE in our lives right now.
A few questions to consider…
What does compassion mean to you?
How can you be more compassionate with yourself?
What’s one step you can take, starting today?