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7 Ways to Cultivate Compassion

Research shows helping others improves overall mental well-being

A hand on a woman's shoulder.

— Isabelle Rozenbaum/es Photography/Corbis

4. A little forgiveness goes a long way. I have a friend who jokes that "Everybody is horrible in his or her own way." What he means is that we're all flawed, vulnerable and doing our imperfect best — in other words, we're deeply human. When we can forgive ourselves our foibles, we begin to extend the same understanding to others, and the mind's distinction between Us and Them — the source of so much suffering in our personal lives, as well as globally — starts to soften, and empathy and compassion take root.

Next: Practice generosity. >>

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