Are people really getting meaner or is it just your imagination? From the halls of Congress to the main streets of small-town America and our big cities, it seems like no one is capable of civilly listening to others whose viewpoints are different.
As I write about in my books The Joy Factor: 10 Sacred Practices for Radiant Health and Walking on Air: Your 30-Day Inside and Out Rejuvenation Makeover, I believe that we are in the midst of an epidemic in which few people have the time to be kind. This rampant form of business is nothing short of a sickness—a form of self-centeredness brought about by people rushing around trying to make ends meet and cope with mounting stress and numerous health issues.
Do you feel overwhelmed in your life and less compassionate than you did years ago? As I counsel people around the country, and even worldwide, it's been my experience that most people are burning the candle at both ends—daily; most people are experiencing severe sleep debt; most people have no time to call their own; and most folks are living in what I refer to as a spin-cycle lifestyle. Can you relate to any of this?
The more you rush around without keeping your life in perspective and in balance, the more you lose compassion for others and yourself, too. People are in such a rush these days, living on the fast track — talking fast, eating fast, and moving fast. What a difference from 50 years ago. Did you know that you'll probably do more in this year — with appointments, people to meet, and places to go — than your grandparents did their entire lives? Given our current pace, we barely have time to relax and cultivate relationships with our spouses and children, friends and nature, much less with God. Is it any wonder that stress-related diseases are on the rise? We are under pressure to keep busy even in our leisure hours. Computers have sped up our lives. We want to do everything, and we want to do it all at once. We talk on the telephone and text while we drive (even though there are now laws against this), watch television while we read, and conduct business while we listen to the radio. I see this as a sickness of epidemic proportions — a "busyness" or "hurry" sickness. This type of lifestyle also drains our hearts of compassion, according to many studies of late. If you understand the speed of life, you can slow it down by enjoying it more and by making a conscious choice of being more compassionate. Start with yourself. You'll find tips in one of my recent radio interviews entitled Have Americans Lost Their Compassion? and also below.
Do you feel your compassionate nature slipping away? Want to be a more compassionate person in your daily life? While you will find more details and the concomitant studies in my two new books mentioned above, here are some highlights to help make compassion more a default position in your daily life.
- Sleep — Getting only six hours of sleep nightly or less makes you feel more stressed, depressed and impatient, increases blood pressure, and makes you more irritable. It's hard to feel compassionate when you are just trying to get through the day with a short fuse and not enough time to accomplish all you need to do. Studies reveal that when you get more sleep on a regular basis, your stress level abates and you become a more compassionate person. In Walking on Air, you will learn about the one thing you should never do before bedtime if you want a good night's sleep (and more information on the role sleep plays in our mood).
- Meditation — You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to know how to meditate. As a disciplined meditator for over 35 years, I know of its benefits personally. Here's one way to meditate: find a special, quiet space in your home. Spend at least 15 minutes there first thing in the morning and, if you can fit in a second session, also before going to bed. Sit and close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, focusing on the sound and rhythm of your breathing. Mentally visualize peace and calmness. Your day will start and end on a stress-free note. According to recent studies, practicing meditation daily will change your brainwaves in a positive way, and make you feel calmer, less anxious, and more compassionate. Additionally, other studies show that compassionate people are healthier, happier, and more successful at work — and earn more money!
- Diet — What you eat affects your mood. That's right. If you want to be more compassionate and kind, you must eschew foods made with white sugar and white flour, and also avoid foods made with artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives. Choose to eat foods as close to the way nature made them as possible — food with natural colors and with an emphasis of plant-based foods, which are teeming with antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber. Make at least 50% of your diet from living (uncooked foods) because these are calming foods. You will find many correlating studies (in both books above) that support how the foods (and which foods, herbs, and spices) you eat can make you a kinder and more compassionate person.
- Exercise — "A sound mind in a sound body" is a traditional British motto. Researchers are finding, however, that there's much more to the adage than might first appear. In a four-year study on 200 people, Dr. Malcolm Carruthers found that most people could ban the blues with a simple, vigorous 10-minute exercise session — three times a week. He found that just 10 minutes of exercise doubles the level of norepinephrine in the body, a chemical key to happiness. It was also discovered in another study that people became more compassionate after exercising outdoors as opposed to indoors. Being in nature calms us down and reduces anxiety. I prefer to hike in the mountains or jog on the beach to working out indoors.
Nature — Here's a simple and inexpensive way to become more compassionate. View a photo or image, such as a poster, of a nature scene. You can put it in your home or office and look at it a few times a day. In one study, it was revealed that those people who spent a few minutes a day viewing images of nature, especially expansive views of nature such as an ocean scene or the mountains, became more compassionate. There are many nature photos on my website for you to view and help you become more relaxed, calm, and compassionate.
FYI: For more detailed information (and all the studies) on being a kinder, more compassionate, and happier person living with less stress, please refer to my new two-book set comprised of Walking on Air and The Joy Factor. To complete the book set, you'll want to get my full color, beautifully designed recipe book, Recipes for Health Bliss with over 150 color photos and 250 delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare recipes. With each purchase of any of these books above, you can get a bonus gift of ANY of my seven natural remedy booklet/CD combos. Purchase all three books above and you can get, just for the asking, three gift combo booklets of your choice. To order, please call: 800-523-9971 (US & Canada) or 215-632-6100 (Intl), both ET, M - F • 9 - 5. And to learn how to create your best life in a unique digital seminar series format, check out Renew Your Life — currently available at a 50% discount.