What Science Has to Say About It

Researchers are confirming what contemplatives have suggested for thousands of years: a personal meditation practice can be a deeply effective path to wellness.

The brain governs our decisions, moods, thoughts, and perceptions, as well as our concepts of who we are, how we relate to others, and how we respond to our internal and external environments.

We have work out plans for our bodies, yet we often neglect our minds and our inner experience while navigating our busy modern lives, which can lead to stress and dissatisfaction.

The latest findings from neuroscience and psychology suggest that cultivating compassion for ourselves and others is one of the most important investments that we can ever make. 

When we exercise our minds in this way, we experience a variety of mental, emotional, and interpersonal benefits which can enhance our overall sense of well-being and connection with others.

During Compassion Cultivation Training™ we'll discuss some of the latest research on the benefits of meditation; particularly the effects of mindfulness, lovingkindness and compassion-focused practices. While meditation is not a cure-all, studies from a variety of sources have lent support to the beneficial effects of these practices on the following (and much more!): increased attentional capacity and reduced impulsivity, reduced mind-wandering, increased immune function, decreased pain, decreased inflammation at the cellular level, decreased stress and anxiety, decreased depression relapse potential, increased positive emotions, increased social and emotional intelligence, reduced isolation, increases in grey matter and areas associated with emotion regulation, self-control and attention in the brain, improved memory and multi-tasking abilities, increased creativity, and where we're most interested - meditation practice makes you more compassionate toward yourself and others!

Push-ups for your brain.

Massage for your genes.

Pull-ups for your heart.


1. Jazaieri, H., McGonigal, K., Jinpa, T., Doty, J. R., Gross, J. J., & Goldin, P. R. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation. Motivation and Emotion. 

2. Jazaieri, H., Jinpa, G. T., McGonigal, K., Rosenberg, E. L., Finkelstein, J., Simon-Thomas, E., et al. (2012). Enhancing compassion: A randomized controlled trial of a compassion cultivation training program. Journal of Happiness Studies.

3. Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2012). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex

4. Goetz, J. L., Keltner, D., & Simon-Thomas, E. (2010). Compassion: An evolutionary analysis and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 136(3), 351–374. 

5. Halifax, J. (2012). A heuristic model of enactive compassion. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care, 6(2), 228–235. 

6. Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2012). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self‐compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

7. Hofmann, S. G., Grossman, P., & Hinton, D. E. (2011). Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: Potential for psychological interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(7), 1126–1132. 

8. Gilbert, P., & Procter, S. (2006). Compassionate mind training for people with high shame and self-criticism: overview and pilot study of a group therapy approach. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 13(6), 353–379. 

9. Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., et al. (2006). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11(3), 230–241. 

10. Oveis, C., Horberg, E. J., & Keltner, D. (2010). Compassion, pride, and social intuitions of self-other similarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(4), 618–630. doi:10.1037/a0017628

11. Valdesolo, P., & DeSteno, D. (2011). Synchrony and the social tuning of compassion. Emotion, 11(2), 262–266.