Rejoicing in the good fortune of others is a practice that can help us when we feel emotionally shut down and unable to connect with others.

Rejoicing generates good will. The next time you go out into the world, you might try this practice: directing your attention to people — in their cars, on the sidewalk, talking on their cell phones — just wish for them all to be happy and well. Without knowing anything about them, they can become very real, by regarding each of them personally and rejoicing in the comforts and pleasures that come their way. Each of us has this soft spot: a capacity for love and tenderness. But if we don't encourage it, we can get pretty stubborn about remaining sour.

I have a friend who, when he begins getting depressed and withdrawn, goes to a nearby park and does this practice for everyone who walks by. He finds this pulls him out of the slump before it's too late. The tricky part is getting out of the house, instead of giving in to the seduction of gloom.

When you begin the practice of rejoicing in others' good fortune, you can expect to encounter your soft spot — as well as your competitiveness and envy. Sitting on the park bench feeling warmth for strangers is relatively easy to do; but when good fortune comes to those we know better, especially those we dislike, it can give us an up-close look at our jealousy.

Pema Chodron in No Time to Lose