Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Your Health

Compassion can help broaden our perspective and redirect our focus way from ourselves. Compassion might boost our sense of well-being by increasing a feeling of connection to others. Social connection helps us recover from illness more quickly, strengthens our immune and even increase our lifespan.

People who feel more connected to others and animals are more empathic and form more trusting and cooperative partnerships. The converse is also true and low social connection is associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior that leads to increased isolation, and declines in physical and psychological wellbeing.

Cultivating compassion for all living beings and practicing a compassionate lifestyle can, therefore, help boost social connection and also improve physical and mental health.

A wealth of literature links altruism and spiritual wellbeing and eudemonia. If we can encourage people to develop their eudemonic well-being (not just life satisfaction and short term happiness), they may indirectly develop a sense of compassion – which indirectly may lead to an increased feeling of connectedness with all species, not only their own … resulting in more compassion for all sentient beings – especially animals. Eudemonic wellbeing implies finding meaning and purpose in life, living in accordance with one’s values and developing a sense of long-term “spiritual” health (not necessarily religious).