How to turn your brain from anger to compassion

How to turn your brain from anger to compassion

Here at The Happiness Institute we recognise, that although happiness is desirable it won't be something we experience ALL the time. 

It's completely normal and appropriate, at times, to experience the range of "negative" emotions including (among others) frustration and anxiety and sadness and anger. 

Recognising this, is the first step to managing it (and then returning to happiness as soon as possible). 

Once we're mindful of these emotions, we can then turn them around as this great article from the Greater Good shows…

Why do we need compassion? 

We need compassion because life is hard. We are all susceptible to diseases and injuries. Every one of us has a lifespan that had a start and will have an end. Just like you, I am vulnerable to disease. Just like you, I could have a blood test tomorrow that says my life is going to end. Just like you, I could hear that my son has been killed in a car crash.

Because these things can happen to any of us at any time, we’re all in this together. No one—no one—escapes. And the more we work together, the more we can make this journey of suffering bearable. The Buddhist tradition puts it this way: “Just like me, you want to be happy; just like me, you want to be free of suffering.” That recognition of common fear and yearning is the basis for compassion.

But compassion isn’t always easy. I take a fairly simple general view of compassion, which is that it is “a sensitivity to suffering with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent that suffering.” We don’t confuse it with other positive emotions, like love, because the hardest forms of compassion are for people you don’t love. It’s also harder to be compassionate toward people who seem very dissimilar from you than toward people who are like you. These are just some of the factors that can inhibit compassion.

Life experiences can also diminish our ability to give and receive compassion. I’m a therapist, and people who come to therapy are often caught in psychological loops that prevent them from accepting compassion from others or from themselves.

But we can break those loops by becoming aware of how our brains work—by becoming aware of own awareness. We can then begin to deliberately cultivate compassion by learning to cultivate compassionate attention, compassionate thinking, compassionate feeling, and compassionate behavior. We learn to be open to suffering in others as well as to suffering in ourselves—and then we can act to alleviate that suffering…

…keep reading the full article HERE