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We all see suffering around us, whether it is the inhumane treatment of migrants or minority groups, or any depressing news of diseases, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
As the number of people needing help reaches epic proportions, it becomes less likely for us to initiate any help. This paradox is known as the compassion collapse and is a feeling of jadedness mixed with helplessness to the enormity of the situation.
Tragic stories and imagery make us sympathetic and wanting to help.
But a recent study reveals that the feeling of sympathy is not proportional to the help given by the person. A desire to help, or to contribute is more valuable for any tangible or fruitful result.
Feelings of sympathy do not necessarily lead to any action to end the suffering - they may cause a feeling of helplessness.
When people have the first-hand experience of pain and suffering, the desire to help arises from deep within, as they know the intricate details, and are motivated to help others who are in peril. This is called the Altruism born of suffering.
People who haven't experienced similar hardships themselves will find it hard to relate to others suffering. However, the desire to help can be invoked by showing them the effectiveness of the method, as well as the larger picture.
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... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.
Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.
Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.
Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.
In 2005, studies began to point out that meditation can change the structure of your brain by thickening the cortex. The cortex controls your attention and emotions.
You can reap the benef...
It typically refers to a practice for training your attention. It is an awareness that comes through paying attention in the moment, but non-judgmentally.
It involves sitting down with closed eyes and focussing on feeling your breath go in and out. When your attention starts to wander, you take note and bring your attention back to your breath.
Meditation shows reduced activity in the amygdala, our brain’s threat detector. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it sets off the fight-flight-freeze response.
In a study, after practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes per day over just one week, participants showed reduced amygdala reactivity only while they were engaged in mindfulness, suggesting they need regular practice.
Many seem to think that purpose comes from your unique gifts and sets you apart from other people. That is only partly true.
Meaningful goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can ...
Reading connects us to people across time and space.
Finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit, it is something we need to feel. That's why purpose can grow out of suffering.