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The Art of Compassion

Girls making arts and crafts togetherIf there’s one aspect of human behavior that favored survival, it’s our deep ability to express compassion and empathy toward others. More so than being driven by conflict, the human brain is a social organ that evolved for cooperation and caring. It was this functional strategy that allowed humans to become the dominant species today.

It’s what you’ll discover in my upcoming book Science of a Happy Brain that states, “In our Age of Disconnection, our ability to experience community and connection is the crucial key lacking today in order for you to claim your Happy Brain. Why is compassion so vital for your and society’s ultimate happiness? Without the love and nurturing received from your parents or other adult caregivers, you wouldn’t have survived childhood. A life lacking in the caring and concern from your friends and family is one of despair and dismay. A society that values acts of kindness and charity to all its members fosters a Happy Brain for all.”

There’s a remarkable discovery emerging about your brain that relates to human behavior—compassion is a trait you can cultivate. Just as you train the muscles in your body, it’s possible to build your “compassion” muscle. I find that the opposite of compassion is comparison. While comparison is an attribute that highlights our differences, compassion is a human quality that reveals our similarities. Compassion is the invisible hand that allows you to relate to those around you.

We sadly live in an age that promotes division and discord. Now, more that ever it’s important for children to learn the tools for empathy. A new study finds the link between Arts Education in schools promotes more than creativity, art builds compassion. As a lead researcher in the study states, “Arts learning experiences benefit students in terms of social, emotional, and academic outcomes.” Arts Education is more than a nicety, it’s an absolute necessity for raising happy and healthy kids. Art is one way to engender compassion, which in turn allows you to enjoy the benefits of a Happy Brain. My motto continues to be: Happy brains make happy people. Happy people make a happy world.

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