Study: Difficult People Have The Most To Gain From Practicing Compassion

Being compassionate isn’t always easy, and it turns out some have more to gain from being sympathetic than others. York University researchers looked at 640 people who were mildly depressed. All participants took an online compassion training course– they had to do compassion intervention exercises and report back to the scientists via an online platform every other day for three weeks. Researchers found that two weeks later, disagreeable participants who performed acts of kindness in close relationships showed the greatest reduction in depression and greatest increases in life satisfaction. Lead study author Myriam Mongrain explains, “Everybody needs people. As a result of their hostility and lack of cooperation, disagreeable types risk getting rejected or ostracized. There is a lot of conflict in their relationships, and they suffer the consequences. We found that providing concrete suggestions to those individuals, giving them ways in which they could express empathic concern in their close relationships was tremendously helpful.”