To live a better life, start with the life you have. Right now, that is the best possible life you can have. That life includes a certain amount of suffering, which makes it seem like it could be better. How you habitually respond to suffering influences the quality of your life. If you run away from suffering you develop avoidance habits. As you acknowledge and approach suffering, you develop compassionate habits.
Compassion is an awareness and an action. It is noticing suffering, looking to the causes of suffering, thinking of cures for suffering, and doing what you can to bring about those solutions. Sometimes you can do a lot, sometimes less. Learning what needs to be done and what you can do is part of the skill of compassion.
You can practice compassion for yourself. You are the best place to start because you directly experience your own suffering and you have some good ideas about where it comes from and what might help. As you learn to recognize how you suffer, you will also notice how other people suffer. When you see others suffer, practice compassion for them.
The more you practice compassion the better you get at it and the better your life gets.
The way to engage your compassionate mind is to breathe consciously. Deep breathing is your go to tool for a better life. Our bodies understand that. That’s why they knock us out every night so we can breathe in peace.