Compassion is vital for the functioning of services that provide health care, yet how do we maintain compassion?
Every day, as we strive to provide exemplary care in our work roles and care and concern for our family and friends, we can be overwhelmed with such caring, which can result in the experience of stress and emotional and physical fatigue.
Compassion – which means “co-suffering”, a sensitivity to another person’s distress and a willingness to enter into the suffering of others, is actually a positive emotional response that enables people to show that they are in tune with the other person and desire to help.
Research is increasingly demonstrating that compassion whether given or received is deeply intertwined with well-being. Being cared for by a compassionate Care Worker enhances enablement and recovery of the recipient. In addition, when health service staff feel themselves to be compassionately treated by their organisation and each other, they are more robust and energised and they feel valued.
To show compassion to others we also need to develop self‐compassion, that is extending kindness to oneself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure or general distress and recognising one’s shared humanity. Self‐compassion can provide us with greater emotional resilience and stability.
Ways to show compassion every day:
- Practice courteous manners
- Show personal interest in others
- Take the time to think about what others have been through
- Always acknowledge other people’s feelings
- Open the door for someone
- Motivate others.
- Practice acts of kindness
- Allocate time to bond with friends and family
- Say encouraging words
- Share an elbow tap (COVID-safe)
- Incorporate gratitude, appreciation and the word “thank you” into your daily routine.
- Take time to care for your own emotional needs
References: Compassion Australia, Positive Psychology, Happiness.com, SA Health well-being strategy