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Given the turbulence we are currently going through, the uncertainty of the future, and the relationship issues, our patience is sometimes put to the test. It´s easy to lose ground and let a certain irritability overwhelm us. It is therefore essential to remain kind despite everything, first towards yourself and then towards others.

Some companies choose to integrate the notions of compassion and kindness into their DNA, in order to create stronger and more harmonious human ties within their teams.

What is Compassion?

According to the Buddhist tradition, it is defined as the desire to put an end to the sufferings of others and their causes. It is an altruistic act of kindness (1). Compassion is the binder that helps us enter into harmonious relationships first with ourselves and then with others. Researchers have looked into this practice and have shown that this feeling transforms our perception of others and of ourselves while inviting us to review our conception of happiness. Compassion alters the neural circuits that condition the brain and allow the transformation of the basic emotional state (2).

Compassion and Judgment

Our perception of the world is formed from our experiences and our beliefs. It is unique. Accepting that others see and experience things differently is a premise for practicing compassion. It is important to remain attentive to the fact that any judgment made about oneself or others always comes from oneself. It is important to remain attentive to the fact that any judgment made about oneself or others always comes from oneself. If compassion requires a suspension of opinions about fellow human beings, it primarily requires a withdrawal of self-criticism. Because, still according to the Buddhist tradition, it is useless to hope one day to take care of others if one does not start by taking care of oneself(3). And taking care of yourself already begins by stopping our little inner criticism.

Compassion and attentive presence

Mindfulness has been around for 2,500 years. This practice consists in placing our attention on the present moment and asking to be vigilant to what surrounds us. It requires observing the events with curiosity, openness, and kindness. The practice of taking the time to sit down, in silence, on a regular basis is an excellent way to cultivate attentive presence, of which here are some benefits:

  • Reduces stress and symptoms of anxiety and fatigue;
  • Develops the ability to step back, better manage priorities and let go;
  • Increases listening, empathy, compassion;
  • Provides a greater mental calm and a feeling of serenity.

Compassion and work

According to Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, the practice of mindfulness is still too often presented to leaders as being only a tool to reduce stress and increase efficiency. According to him, several essential dimensions for the company and its employees are forgotten, such as the possibility of finding more accuracy in decision-making, the development of a finer self-knowledge and the ability to take better care of colleagues and employees in a kinder way. This last dimension in particular is crucial to promote harmony at work and the development of everyone.


Micro-break to experiment!

Sit comfortably, close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and then return to natural breathing while letting the body, and especially the face, relax. Mentally repeat, in time with your breathing, “I INSPIRE, I EXPIRE”. Continue for a few minutes, bringing your attention back to this mental repetition when you are distracted. This calming practice is very effective in cultivating greater mindfulness.

Why not introduce this micro-break at the start of each meeting? Then note if you observe better communication and more kindness in interactions. Also, encourage your teams to take these short breaks individually and regularly throughout the day. You will certainly notice the concrete difference on the general atmosphere.


Article written by Julie Banville for Facteur H magazine


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Bibliographic references

  1. [http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/matthieu-ricard/meditation-bureau-entreprise_b_8280696.html]
  2. INREES – [http://compassion.inrees.com/article/id/6]
  3. Ricard M., Singer T. Vers une société plus altruiste, Allary Éditions, 2015
  4. Neff K., S’aimer, comment se réconcilier avec soi-même, Belfond, avril 2013.