By Mark Fergusson
Chief Vegetarian Officer, Chief Executive Officer
Down to Earth ALL VEGETARIAN Organic & Natural
When you get home from work and your pet welcomes you with bounding energy and unconditional love, you can’t help but feel happy and refreshed as your stress melt away. You will notice that animals are extra sensitive and know when you’re feeling happy, angry or sad. No matter how you’re feeling, your pets will never leave your side and show relentless compassion.
According to medical traditions from around the world, compassionate feelings and actions towards others can improve health in a number of ways. For example, many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine explain that developing compassion is actually the foundation of healing. Today, research scientists are starting to notice that there are measurable health benefits to compassion.
For starters, having a compassionate attitude towards others – animals as well as people – helps decrease stress. Many people in modern society suffer from chronic stress and as a result our brain releases chemicals and hormones that can damage our body over a prolonged period. Stress impacts our body’s ability to fight infection and inflammation; therefore, by reducing stress we can boost our immune system overall.
In addition, a compassionate attitude stimulates the body’s relaxation response—a physical state of deep rest—to counteract the negative effects of stress. The relaxation response helps your heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormone levels return to normal, and also relieve pain by releasing endorphins.
Finally, compassion helps to promote feelings of inner well-being and a positive mental attitude that help combat anxiety and depression. Shifting our perspective outwards to focus on others helps take the focus off of our own worries and concerns.
Practice compassion every day for a healthy and happy life!