Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 963–981

Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem


    • Department of PsychologyYork University
  • Jacqueline M. Chin
    • Department of PsychologyQueens University
  • Leah B. Shapira
    • Department of PsychologyYork University
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-010-9239-1

Cite this article as:
Mongrain, M., Chin, J.M. & Shapira, L.B. J Happiness Stud (2011) 12: 963. doi:10.1007/s10902-010-9239-1


The current study examined the effect of practicing compassion towards others over a 1 week period. Participants (N = 719) were recruited online, and were assigned to a compassionate action condition or a control condition which involved writing about an early memory. Multilevel modeling revealed that those in the compassionate action condition showed sustained gains in happiness (SHI; Seligman et al. in Am Psychol 60:410–421, 2005) and self-esteem (RSES; Rosenberg in Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965) over 6 months, relative to those in the control condition. Furthermore, a multiple regression indicated that anxiously attached individuals (ECR; Brennan et al. 1998) in the compassionate action condition reported greater decreases in depressive symptoms following the exercise period. These results suggest that practicing compassion can provide lasting improvements in happiness and selfesteem, and may be beneficial for anxious individuals in the short run.


CompassionCompassionate actionAttachmentHappinessSelf-esteem

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010