What's your emotional style? Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence, writes in his blog about research being done by Richard Davidson, the director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin:
As I’ve described in Social Intelligence cortisol can behelpful at lower levels; it’s crucial for mobilizing us to meet the demands of the day. But when cortisol surges through the body at high levels and stays there, we get stuck in emotional overdrive. This, Davidson tells me, impacts our health. David Spiegel at Stanford Medical School found that among women with metastatic breast cancer, those whose cortisol failed to go down at the end of the day ended up dying of cancer sooner.
...whatever our emotional style, the very circuitry of the brain that determines it also happens to be the most plastic – that is, able to change with experience.
In our conversation [Davidson] describes the good news: how mindfulness practice can help us modify these brain styles for the better.
Goleman also attended TED Africa, where this short video on compassion was filmed. He asks "Why aren't we more compassionate more of the time?"
Wikipedia: affective neuroscience