40 Seconds of Compassion

Some of the most compelling evidence for the importance of caring and compassion comes from the field of healthcare. (In some ways, it's no surprise, as compassionate behavior lies at the of healthcare professionals' obligations to their patients.) Dr. Stephen Trzeciak and his colleague Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli reviewed more than 1,000 scientific abstracts and 250 research papers to show that when health care providers take the time for compassion (i.e., connections that help end suffering), patient outcomes improve and medical costs decrease. Their research is described in this article.


While the effects of caring and compassion are profound for patient care and healthcare administrators concerned about costs, feeling and expression caring and compassion are important for staff well-being, too. A common complaint in many occupations I study is lack of time for anything besides work. Some of the employees I work with complain that they barely have time to use the restroom on their shift. While not having time at work to meet or exceed basic biological needs is highly problematic (more on that in a separate post), fortunately, generating feelings of compassion can occur anywhere and anytime (even on a bathroom break). Dr. Trzeciak finds that even 40 seconds of expressed compassion can help improve employee well-being and reduce burnout. Yes, that’s right – 40 seconds!


So instead of scrolling Facebook or Instagram on bathroom breaks (guilty!), take that time instead to connect emotionally with others at work.