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How Can We Maintain Our Sense of Compassion and Helpfulness in Difficult Times?

President of the Mental Health Association, Dr. Ömer Akgül, “How Can We Protect Our Feeling of Compassion and Solidarity in Difficult Times?” on the situation that affected the country after the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş. wrote the article.

For Turkey, which was shaken by the earthquake of 7.7 and 7.6 in the morning on February 6, 2023, “How Can We Protect Our Feeling of Compassion and Solidarity in Difficult Times?” Head of the Mental Health Association, Dr. Ömer Akgül, “You can guess that the earthquake disaster we experienced on February 6 will cause many psychological faults in our souls. One of them is that our sense of compassion, which is the basis of our cooperation behavior, is not damaged.” said.

How Can We Maintain Our Sense of Compassion and Helpfulness in Difficult Times?


There is a lot of information that we obtained from various channels, such as “don’t send aid, trucks are dumping it on the ground, it’s wasted, don’t send old goods, don’t send nonsense, looting is done, disaster victims stock up outside their needs and surplus, people are selected for aid, roads are cut and aids are plundered, etc” unfortunately. affects our helping attitudes. In addition, the survivors (which we should think about in the context of the shock effects of disaster trauma) also cause the survivors to choose the color pattern of the incoming clothes, to open the boxes of the shoes that have never been used, to try and try until they decide on one, and to throw them around without putting the shoes they tried on in the boxes they opened, and cause the donations to become unusable. Let’s not allow our fountains of mercy that make us human to dry up because of the news. A sense of compassion and altruism will be needed at other times. Due to this and similar news from the solidarity campaign, which we started with enthusiasm and belonging at first, we first enter the phase of withdrawal and then the process of depersonalization. And worst of all, this learning is transferred to another time or event. Transferring this learned helplessness to another time when we will need compassion causes the misfortune of accepting the role of spectator. And now our attitude of cooperation comes to another stage that turns into another wreck together with our sense of compassion.



Emphasizing cooperation, which is one of the behaviors driven by the feeling of compassion, Dr. The plane tree of mercy, fed by Ömer Akgül, Rahman and Rahim, is one of the most important feelings for human beings. Juzie is one of the greatest gifts of Mercy Kulli. Compassion is a substance that heals people in terms of the behavior it prompts. Because “helping”, which is one of the behaviors driven by the feeling of compassion, is not an act of kindness of the rich to the poor. Likewise, helping the strong to the weak, the superior to the subordinate, the superior to the official, the one who knows a lot to the one who knows little is not an act of kindness. Helping is actually an act of kindness towards oneself. When he says that there is nothing better than helping another person, From may have meant exactly this. We should not undermine this plane tree, which will also heal ourselves, so that we do not lose hope in the sycamore tree named mercy in its heart. Because compassion is a more inclusive level of love. Many scientific studies, especially in recent years, show that helping attitudes contribute to our psychological health, positive emotions, and especially happiness. However, it has also been found that happy people also engage in more helpful behavior. In other words, both helping behaviors increase happiness and happiness encourages our helping attitudes.

The importance of helping in the earthquake zone


It has been stated that people who engage in voluntary behaviors have an increased level of life satisfaction. Akgul, It is known that people who receive help and compassion from others tend to be more inclined to help. On the other hand, people who experience more positive emotions and feel happier are more inclined to help and support than those who feel relatively depressed. When the brain activities of compassionate helping people are monitored with an MRI device, it is determined that the hormone dopamine is secreted, which works in the same way as the regions that work when pleasure and reward are received. It turns out that people who engage in voluntary behaviors have an increased level of life satisfaction. For example, some of the university students who are given a small amount of money are asked to buy something for themselves until the evening, while others are asked to buy something for a friend or family member. When compared at the end of the day, students who buy something for others feel happier.

It will help us to feel much better by helping each other in a way that will not wear us out and exhaust ourselves, to develop some of our skills such as empathy while doing these, and therefore to learn something.

In addition to these, aids made without considering the boomerang effect are also more sacred. While helping each other by thinking that they owe each other, saying ‘I am a superior person, look, I help’, ‘he has rights, I have to do it for him’, that is, if selfishness is done with an extremist view, it does not fully help. It certainly does not go to waste, but it does not fully fill the concept of help. The concepts of ‘silent help, silent kindness’ support the rule that the left hand does not know what the right hand gives. If a person manages to do good without showing it to anyone, he can tame his own ego.



1-Determine your individual assistance plan in advance: How can I demonstrate human achievement despite all kinds of misfortune? What irreplaceable luminosity am I authorized to shine? What am I missing to make up for? Let’s explore the power of our most unique and more difficult skill to be done by someone else in disasters, by seeking answers to questions such as: Let us know that what we do is important as well as how we do it. The cleaning heroes who fight infection and provide hygiene in a hospital are doing a sacred job at least as much as doctors in terms of saving lives. Let’s not neglect what we can do in other areas such as knowledge, experience, physical strength, abilities, and other financial areas, together with our help plan in the area where we are strong.

2-Make your organizational assistance plan: It is important that the aid is organized and coordinated in terms of the correct use of resources. Prepare your corporate and individual organization under the roof of big organizations such as AFAD, KIZILAY and IHH. It has now been recognized as the hallmark of quality systems of cooperation, which is a 21st century skill. Especially the 21st century skill is teamwork. The real success lies in team success rather than individual success. It was neuroscience that backed this up. Neuroscience states that man is a relational being. The human mind is not programmed to live alone.

How Can We Maintain Our Sense of Compassion and Helpfulness in Difficult Times?

3- Let’s stay away from dysfunctional interactions: In order to protect the sycamore of compassion within us from the demoralizing wind of bad examples, let’s not spread dysfunctional and meaningless events that will harm our sense of cooperation, let’s know that everything is not just that exception, but also, let’s keep our common sense by thinking that the people who exhibit that behavior are someone who exhibits shock behaviors within the psychology of the disaster. Our brain may be inclined to see and remember the negative, so let’s talk about what we want to happen, not what we want not to happen. In this age of social media, where everyone is a member of the press, members of the press should be more attentive to this issue.

4-We feel bad if we avoid helping: The New York Institute for Health Promotion conducted a study on 3,300 volunteers who devoted their lives to volunteering; stressed that 95 percent of the group had reduced stress levels after the act of helping. A 30-year study involving 427 women at Cornell University revealed that volunteer work is one of the key determinants of a long and healthy life. Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Dean Ornish and Harvard Medical School Cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson states that they put participation in volunteer activities that include helping others into all their rehabilitation programs. It was also announced that those who live alone are in the five times higher risk group compared to those who participate in such activities. Volunteering and service connect people, strengthen their sense of competence, have a good time, and make them feel empowered.

How Can We Maintain Our Sense of Compassion and Helpfulness in Difficult Times?

5-Let’s get rid of arrogance: Research suggests that as people move up the ladder of wealth and material wealth, their feelings of empathy and compassion decrease and they develop a strong belief that they deserve what they have (I was created from fire, I am superior to that earth, the rebellion is the main source of this arrogance). In Western culture, helping, helping someone, getting help is seen as a weakness. There is an opinion that it prevents individualization because it is seen as a weakness. Nietzsche has something to say about this. He says; “Solidarity increases the operating cost of humility.” Why should a man who cannot stand on his own feet perish according to the law of natural selection? We do not have to help him” while we have an approach such as ‘He who sleeps full when his neighbor is hungry is not one of us’ is one of the most important slogans of our culture.

6-Let’s not put oil in the hands of opportunists:It is very important to stay away from sedition in order not to become an instrument of the bad intentions of people and institutions that are chasing economic, political, reputation, ambition, revenge and reckoning, and gaining power.

In summary, let’s not leave our sense of compassion, which makes us human, to anyone’s mercy. If you can keep the feeling of cooperation alive and strong despite the negative news, we will be happy for you.

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