The Dali Lama said, "If you want to be happy, practice compassion". Not only does relating to others with understanding and feeling create happiness but it is physically relaxing and healing as well. Buddhists have known this for centuries. Modern medicine can support it with hard data now.
I was interested in reading about some new studies (ODE magazine July/August 2011) that support positive coaching as a way people learn more quickly and achieve better results. It engages people in their own progress and feeling cared about reduces anxiety which frees the mond and body to perform. Stress reduces when people, women especially, turn their thoughts to others needs. It could be that putting others needs first, directs thoughts outward so there is less worry internally.
Compassion can be practiced anywhere. More is better when practicing compassion. Give it a try. Remember the other person is looking for happiness too. He/she doesn't want to suffer but does experience sadness and loss just like you. Both of you are learning about live as you live it. As Donna told me once, "The world is full of people running around trying to get their needs met. Sometimes they bump into each other."
Some follow up reading is Harry Palmer: Resurfacing: Techniques for Exploring Consciousness; Dacher Keltner, Born to be Good; Charles Darwin,The Descent of Man, Kristin Neff, The Horse Boy.