It’s a simple notion, yet one that couldn’t be more profound.
Compassion makes us better – and more connected – human beings.
Not just now, in November, when tradition dictates that we gather to give thanks, but through all points on the calendar.
Making communities more connected like that mythical red thread that binds us as humans and runs through all our live
s, no matter our background or beliefs.
Just imagine if kindness could also help us to live longer.
That there are incalculable benefits to health and happiness is beyond all question, but in California, research is being carried out to take this subject one step further.
It’s taking place at UCLA’s new Bedari Kindness Institute.
‘We’re looking at the scientific point of view,’ explains Daniel Fessler, the center’s first Director. ‘We’re not sitting around in circles, holding hands. We’re talking about the psychology, the biology of positive social interactions. It’s fair to say that we live in an unkind age right now, both domestically, in the United States, and around the world.
‘What we are seeing is increasing conflict between individuals who hold different political views or belong to different religions. Living with people who treat you, at best, with disregard or a lack of concern, or at worst, with open hostility, is bad for you.
‘It shortens your life quite literally. Conversely, both receiving kindness from others and providing kindness are the antithesis of this toxic stress situation; and they’re good for you.’
It’s an intriguing proposition – and one that sounds too good to be true. But as Columbia University’s Dr Kelli Harding says, ‘[Kindness] helps the immune system, blood pressure – it helps people to live longer and better. It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply.’
It’s that – that unlike other resources, kindness is abundant and can never run out – that we’d like you to think about this Thanksgiving.
To quote Darnell Hunt, the Dean of Sciences at UCLA, ‘There’s a need to step back and explore the things that make us human and that have the potential to lead to more humane societies’.
Because nothing connects quite like kindness. Because compassion makes us better human beings. Because being nicer to each other can help us live happier – and longer – lives.
From us at Legends of OM, Happy Thanksgiving.
We are all connected.