Sharon is joined by Dr. Emma Seppälä to discuss some of the science behind love and compassion.
Emma Seppälä Ph.D is the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research in addition to her role as Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She has conducted groundbreaking research on mind-body practices for combat veterans and in the fields of meditation and compassion.This episode is the third in Sharon’s Real Love Podcast series.
The Real Love Podcast Series is a special series on the Metta Hour featuring a variety of conversations with some of the world’s finest thinkers and teachers exploring Sharon’s forthcoming book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection“. Real Love a field guide for anyone seeking awakened living in the 21st century – regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity or status. The book explores love is three different arena in life: love of oneself, love of an other, and love for all of life. Real Love is now available for order now!
The Happiness Track (Opening) – Emma Seppälä is the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research in addition to her role as Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She has conducted groundbreaking research on mind-body practices for combat veterans and in the fields of meditation and compassion. Sharon introduces Emma and her work, starting with Emma’s book “The Happiness Track.”
“The book itself was an act of love that stemmed from seeing a pain point in people’s lives. That pain point being burnout, fatigue, stress, and exhaustion that I saw not just in high achievers, but everywhere. I saw how we have bought into the psyche that the only way to be successful is to run ourselves into the ground, which is really a lack of self-love.”
Burnout (7:30) Sharon and Emma talk about the balance of taking care of ourselves with the same amount of love and attention that we might provide others. They discuss the burnout and fatigue that all caregivers experience to some degree, as well as Emma’s experiences working with military veterans.
“The breath is powerful, it goes right into the nervous system. We can calm our heart rate and our blood pressure in minutes just by lengthening our exhales. The veterans I worked with could see a result right away. They are a very practical population with a “show-me” attitude; kind of a no BS crowd. Within minutes they can tell and end up sticking with the program.”
Self Love (18:00) – In her newest book “Real Love” Sharon talks about how the development of love and compassion for themselves is not a selfish act. We think of it as being self-centered or narcissistic to a degree, but what else are we to do when we become exhausted and overwhelmed by things. She and Emma further discuss striking a balance between showing love and care for ourselves without becoming self-absorbed.
“We need connection and at the same time are living in increased isolation. We are facing a crisis of loneliness and a lack of connection. I think the message of connecting, belonging, and care for others is important but also remember self-compassion, self-care, and self-love; it is profound and balance is the key.”
Care for Caregivers (33:40) – Sharon asks Emma her opinion on other tools to give caregivers beyond basic empathy training.
“One of the reasons that the data points to for caregiver burnout is that they are not given the time to express their empathy. They have to move from one person to the next and are not given time for the human moments. When you are not given time for that moment of humanity you burn out faster.”
Back to our Roots (38:00) In the book “Real Love” Sharon writes about the sense of oneness and connection through nature. Emma shares her views on the role that nature plays in our connection to each other and ourselves.
Love in other Words (44:40) – Emma Seppälä shares what word comes to mind for her when she thinks about love.
“Love is the combination of self-compassion and compassion for others.”