Compassion lies in the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience. A huge amount of evidence shows that cultivating (self-)compassion changes how the brain works. The most important shift is from constantly being in the sympathetic system (state of stress) toward spending more time in the parasympathetic system of the brain (state of rest and digest).
How can Compassion Focused Therapy transform us?
- Downregulates fear (anxiety). Activates courage and authenticity.
- Increases stress-tolerance by shifting dynamics in specific brain regions.
- Diminishes chronic hyper-arousal.
- Builds emotional resilience by changing the body through the vagus nerve and enhances Heart Rate Variability (an important measure of well-being).
- Improves mental health and psychosocial functioning:
- improves depression, anxiety, feelings of shame and forms of self-sabotage
- reduces rumination, isolation and avoidant behaviours
- improves perception and relationship to one's self (including self-attack and judgement)
- proven to help with psychotic disorders and PTSD
- Enhances well-being, emotional regulation, happiness, connections to others through healthier relationships and overall Emotional Intelligence.
Should I try Compassion Focused Therapy?
Our human brain is designed to reinforce kindness, generosity and benevolence. CFT is for you if you wish to be more helpful than harmful to yourself and consequently to others. It is not going to change your past or present circumstances, but it can change the way you relate to them, go through them or live in/with them.
Being kinder and more caring for ourselves is not going to take all our pain away. We give ourselves compassion not to feel better. But BECAUSE we feel bad.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." (Dalai Lama XIV)