Emma Seppala originates from Paris, France and is Associate
Director at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
(CCARE) at Stanford University. She is an Honorary Fellow at the Center for
Investigating Healthy Minds in Madison, Wisconsin.
Her research areas include:
Complementary & Alternative Interventions (yoga, meditation);
The Science of Happiness,
Health, Well-Being; Stress; Trauma;
Emotion and Emotion Regulation; Compassion,
Social Connectedness; Cross-Cultural Psychology.
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"Emma Seppala, PhD is the associate director of Stanford School of
Medicine’s The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
(CCARE) and a well-known researcher and speaker on the science of
well-being, social connection and compassion. BeWell spoke with Dr.
Seppala to glean her latest insights and learned that strong medicine
does not always come in a prescription drug vial.
Empathy: the most evolved form of kindness
Most of us (except in extreme cases, such as psychopaths) are wired for
empathy, defined as the shared experience of someone else’s pain or
pleasure. Whenever we look at or interact with others, parts of our
brain, “mirror neurons,” internally echo what others do and feel.
Someone’s smile, for example, activates the smile muscles in our faces,
while a frown activates our frown muscles. In this way, we “read” other
people’s states of mind."
"What is Compassion?
What is compassion and how is it different from empathy or altruism? The
definition of compassion is often confused with that of empathy.
Empathy, as defined by researchers, is the visceral or emotional
experience of another person’s feelings. It is, in a sense, an automatic
mirroring of another’s emotion, like tearing up at a friend’s sadness.
Altruism is an action that benefits someone else.
It may or may not be accompanied by empathy or
compassion, for example in the case of making a donation for tax
purposes. Although these terms are related to compassion, they are not
identical. Compassion often does, of course, involve an empathic
response and an altruistic behavior. However, compassion is defined as
the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an
authentic desire to help."
August 26, 2012
Connect To Thrive: Social Connection Improves Health,
Well-Being & Longevity
"People who feel more connected to others havelower
rates of anxiety and depression.
they also have higherself-esteem,
are more empathic to others, more trusting and cooperative and, as a
consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.
Social connectedness therefore generates a positive feedback loop of
social, emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, the opposite
is also true for those who lack social connectedness. Low social
connection has been generally
in physical and psychological health as well as a higher propensity to
antisocial behavior that leads to further isolation."