Expanded Information about Your Compassion Practices and Benefits
Compassion Practice Tips and Exercises
The Buddha noted that one should not dwell on the past, become too attached to future outcomes, but instead concentrate our mind only on the present moment of our experiences. The Dalai Lama noted that compassion is a necessary condition for inner calmness and survival. Pema Chodron noted that compassion is required for inner and outer peace. If you practice the skills noted below, it is highly recommended that you write briefly on a daily basis in a compassion-based journal about your growth and your journey.
Here is an expanded list of things you may notice when you make compassion practices a part of your regular, daily practice.
If you practice seriously, expect the following to occur.
1) Improved self-confidence and self-esteem, especially in dealing with others;
2) Improved quality of emotional experiences and emotional regulation;
3) Greater frequency in being your own best friend;
4) Improved interpersonal relationships and greater social engagement;
5) Reduced shame and extreme perfectionism;
6) More self-supporting focus on your strengths;
7) Greater generosity and kindness;
8) More soft-heartedness in dealing both with yourself and with others;
9) General improvements in psychological and physical well-being; and,
10) Greater ease at continuing to be more compassionate (brain plasticity related to regular, daily practice).
Here are a few ways to expand your regular practice of compassion.
1) First do a personal inventory. Examine your life experience and note 2-3 unhelpful and 2-3 helpful life experiences/events. Now under each list pros and cons regarding your expected/experienced outcomes from both helpful and unhelpful life experiences.
Unhelpful (Unpleasant)Experiences and events –
Helpful (Pleasant) Experiences and Events –
2) Answer this question. How have these life experiences, even the unpleasant events, helped you in your life?
3) If you were now coaching your best friend, what three things might you do to coach them into being more compassionate?
4) Practice empathy for yourself and others more frequently.
5) Catch yourself being critical or negative, and stop! Shift your thinking and feelings to improved self-understanding and non-judgment.
6) Do the same when dealing with others.
7) Notice what your internal emotional warmth feels like. Describe it below. Work to expand it!
8) Develop and use a self-nurturing mantra. What is it?
9) Learn to pay better attention to your body and facial emotions. When you catch them being negative or unpleasant, shift! Practice shifting to a more compassionate stance in both your body and on your face. Look at a mirror, when you sense being negative, and when you sense being positive.
10) Periodically check the quality of your thoughts, emotions and memories. If they are unpleasant, shift them to neutral or pleasant. Use self-compassion and compassion for others as your energy source.
Good luck. May you experience the benefits of compassion every day of your life.
For more information refer to Gilbert, P. (2014). Mindful Compassion. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. See also Welford, M. (2013). The Power of Self-Compassion. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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