This year’s theme is Healing through Compassion

Compassion is defined as “the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help alleviate that suffering” (Seppala, 2013). It’s recognizing when a friend is having a bad day and offering to listen to them talk about it, or seeing someone struggling to open a door with an armful of groceries and opening it for them. It also involves recognizing when you are having a hard time and choosing to give yourself kindness rather than harsh criticism and judgment. There are many ways to show compassion and many benefits to carrying out acts of compassion.

Expressing compassion can move us towards a just and equitable society by establishing a sense of trust with others, strengthening relationships, and cultivating a sense of community (CMHA, 2024). On a personal level, engaging in acts of compassion can give you purpose, increase happiness, decrease depression, and reduce feelings of stress (Hill, 2023).

When you consider the ways in which compassion can positively change us, our relationships, and our society it is not hard to understand how we might all heal through compassion.

Here are a few ways to promote and express compassion:

  • Express appreciation and gratitude
  • Apologize when you make a mistake
  • Accept others for who they are
  • Forgive people when they make a mistake

Here are some other places to read about compassion and its benefits:

VeryWellMind, Psychology Today, Greater Good Magazine, CMHA Mental Health Week