Recent research from the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Program (CCT) indicates that people who develop compassion for others gain physical and emotional advantages, including enhancements in the ability to deal with difficult people. A June 2017 article in the journal of Mindfulness describes a clever use of multiple methods of data collection to understand these outcomes. Participants used an IPHONE app twice a day to rate different emotional states – anxiety, calm, fatigue, and alertness. They also were asked to comment on how successful they felt in regulating their emotional state and what steps they took to do that. People with compassion are better able to empathize another person’s suffering and to feel motivated to help them. In this case, the QUANT data on emotional and physical outcomes (e.g. fatigue, calm, anxiety) can be sorted by the strategies participants report to regulate negative emotions.
Linked to an 8-week training program for teachers, this article is of part of an inspiring large-scale, long-term interdisciplinary project with many important and interesting social implications. Building this kind of agenda starts with a problem that is of cross-cultural and every-day practical importance. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to avoid letting difficult people get under our skin and preoccupy our thoughts. This is the food for a TED talk and endless spin offs. It is not a topic so esoteric – but often very important – that only 10 people in the world care about it.
Mindfulness training has been used to study emotional and physical outcomes of children, adolescents, and adults and with military personnel, college students, executives, caregivers, and patients with different types of injuries.
The same model for multiple data collection strategies and creative control groups could be used to study almost any activity or program designed to promote educational and health benefits.