Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A simple route to compassion

Can simple acts increase compassion?  David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern has proven that they do.  "Tapping one’s hands in synchrony with another caused our participants to report feeling more similar to their partners and to have greater compassion for their plight"  he says in his recent article in the NY Times: Compassion Made Easy.

It strikes me that our ritual during the school year and at camp of a morning circle with a greeting, a song, and some sharing gives children a chance to connect with each other in a way that adds to each person's compassion.  It seems so simple!  Even thinking about a common interest can trigger these feelings.

Simply learning to mentally re-categorize one another in terms of commonalities would generate greater empathy among all of us — and foster social harmony in a fairly effortless way. 

I like it.

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