It’s time to make empathy mandatory. Empathy is different from sympathy, very different. Sympathy is feeling sorry and sad for someone’s else situation. Empathy is the ability to understand and respond to what another person is feeling and experiencing. Walking a mile in anothers shoes.  On a fundamental level, empathy promotes helping behaviours and connects us to other humans. On a deeper level, empathetic relationships are linked with faster healing times, happier moods and stronger immune systems.

What does Empathy sound like?

  1. Cognitive Empathy is an intellectual appreciation of others emotions.

“My employer has laid me off”

Oh, that’s difficult, you must be disappointed, you’ve worked so hard.”

2. Emotional Empathy is feeling the emotions of another person.

The groom chokes up as he tries to thank his parents in a heartfelt speech and, so do you.

3. Compassionate empathy is an understanding, a feeling of another person that leads us to action.

“I’m worried and scared about my mother’s health”

 “I know it must be very difficult but speaking to her daily is helping her, she knows you care”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo Buscaglia

Empathy as a Healer

  • Empathetic relationships develop strong human connections and lead to greater self esteem
  • Treatment outcomes including blood sugar levels in Diabetes are improved when there is an empathetic relationship with the health care provider
  • Empathizing with another person’s joy creates deeper happiness in our selves
  • Empathetic leaders motivate their teams to be their best self
  • Patients with a common cold who perceive that their caregiver is empathetic have a shorter duration of cold symptoms and less illness severity with documented stronger immune system response. True fact!
This is a cool experiment using sympathy and empathy to what leads to happiness.

Empathy is a learned skill that comes more naturally to some. It is a key component of wellness for ourselves and those we care about. Kindergartens are learning this at school, we can too.

Simple Steps to Build Empathy

  1. Listen intently without distraction to what someone is saying.
  2. Show random acts of kindness and watch for the reaction
  3. Try to understand both sides of a dilemma, find fair common ground
  4. Tend to a weaker being whether a plant, a pet or a person in need
  5. Use warm words to greet others by phone, text or in-person
Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash


Hasbro Toys believes in Empathy and has tools for kids and families

Psychology Today has lots of good news even on bad news days

Previous post Balance Training: Use it or Lose it!
Next post Unbroken: Harnessing Willpower for Wellness

One thought on “The Life Saving Skills of Empathy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *