Random Lessons of Kindness — How We Can Learn to Care
Jamil Zaki: Researchers have discovered a set of habits that lead people to become more caring. Through the right sort of meditation practice, individuals can become more generous and attuned to others. People who immerse themselves in fiction grow slightly but reliably more empathic. And when individuals make friends from different social groups — moving from “us and them” to “you and I” — they can form deep connections even across bitter cultural divisions. In other words, empathy is like a muscle, which atrophies or strengthens depending on how we use it. I designed “Becoming Kinder” as an empathy gym for my students. At the end of each week, I handed them a “kindness challenge,” designed to help them push past their social comfort zones and connect with others in new ways.