A study from 2011 titled Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem completed an experiment showing that people who practice compassion showed an overall increase in happiness as well as a decrease in depression symptoms.
Here’s a summary excerpt of the study:
The current study examined the effect of practicing compassion towards others over a 1week period. Participants (N=719) were recruited online, and were assigned to a compassionate action condition or a control condition which involved writing about an early memory. Multilevel modeling revealed that those in the compassionate action condition showed sustained gains in happiness (SHI; Seligman et al. in Am Psychol 60:410–421, 2005) and self-esteem (RSES; Rosenberg in Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965) over 6months, relative to those in the control condition. Furthermore, a multiple regression indicated that anxiously attached individuals (ECR; Brennan et al. 1998) in the compassionate action condition reported greater decreases in depressive symptoms following the exercise period. These results suggest that practicing compassion can provide lasting improvements in happiness and selfesteem, and may be beneficial for anxious individuals in the short run.
Mini Loving-Kindess & Compassion Exercise
Years ago I came across this vlog where vlogger Mindah-Lee Kumar suggests a mindful exercise where you practice compassion and empathy towards everyone you interact with. The way it works is simple: Every time you start an interaction with someone, silently wish them well in your mind. It helps you to care for everyone you interact with and see from their point of view. I’ve always attributed a lot of happiness and health to this exercise, and now I have the proof to show it!