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Why You Should Be More Compassionate

Showing kindness, caring and a willingness to help others allows us to create deep connections with others.

Being compassionate allows us to cement friendships and strengthen bonds with others, but it also has another hidden benefit!

Research has shown that people who are more compassionate have a healthier vagus nerve which is the longest nerve to emanate from the brain.

The label ‘vagus’ has Latin origins and reflects the ‘wandering, rambling’ path of the nerve which connects with the heart, lungs and other large organs.

The vagus nerve plays an important part in reducing inflammation within the body.

Having a ‘low vagal tone’ refers to the inability of the vagus nerve to reduce inflammation effectively.

People who have a healthier vagus nerve, are said to have ‘high vagal tone’ and are able to relax more quickly after periods of stress and therefore have lower levels of inflammation.

Inflammation is the cause of much serious disease; if you are kinder, caring and show willing to help others, it’s likely that you have reduced levels of inflammation which contribute towards good health!

Why not strengthen your relationships and your health by being more compassionate?

Here are my top tips to do so:

  • Imagine standing in the shoes of another. Try to see what they see, hear what they hear and feel how they feel.
  • Give people the gift of uninterrupted time with you. Focus solely on the conversation, not on other things. Be fully present in that moment.
  • Whenever you see a chance to help, help. Don’t let it be a passing thought. Make it a determined action.
  • Practice kindness. Seek opportunities to be kind and create them. Incorporate at least one random act of kindness into every day.
  • Listen without judgement. Everyone is a product of their past experiences. We all have different realities. Understanding this will allow you to understand how they feel, and what they need.

By increasing your compassion, you will not only experience more joy but better health. Why not start today?

Low vagal tone has been associated with chronic inflammation.

Research shows that those with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, often have decreased heart rate variability, a marker of reduced vagal tone.

This reduced vagal tone triggers the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (substances secreted by inflammatory cells and affect other cells) and leads to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity and stress hormones, contributing to systemic inflammation.

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