Fete Lifestyle Magazine September 2017 Family Issue - Page 48

According to research, low or no social connection has been linked to anxiety, violence, depression and even inflammation, on a cellular level! (Many medical doctors say that inflammation is the root of all major illnesses!) The research has shown that low or no social connection is worse for us than smoking, obesity and even high blood pressure!

So what can we do? We can cultivate a sense of community, where we feel connected to the people around us and they feel connected to us. How do we do this? The Dalai Lama’s quote on happiness says it beautifully, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

So there you have it. There are two ways to increase happiness, connection and build community.

1. By practicing compassion for others.

2. Practicing compassion for ourselves.

Sounds simple right? But how do you practice compassion for others? You practice empathy. In other words, you seek to understand another’s experience and put yourself in their shoes. To practice compassion for ourselves, we need to treat ourselves the same way we would treat a friend. We are mindful about the way we talk to ourselves and know that we will make mistakes! We use these mistakes as teachers, gain the lesson and move forward. We don’t beat ourselves up or berate ourselves for our imperfections.

A great trick for beginning a compassion practice is to look for similarities vs differences. For those of us that live in the US, there was recently a solar eclipse. I was struck by the multitude of people that gathered to watch this show put on by mother nature. We were united by a common experience. This unity, has also been clearly apparent in the large number of communities, companies and individuals who have donated time, money, supplies, skills and professional expertise to help everyone affected by recent hurricane Harvey in Texas.