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C_Fun
TELUS Employee
TELUS Employee

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I hear you.

 

As humans, we share an ability to understand what life is like for other people. By listening with empathy, we signal that we understand where they’re coming from and that we care.

 

It’s Canadian Mental Health Week and, this year, the focus is on empathy. We’ve gone through a lot over the past few years and now we know that we’re as much the same as we are different. Whatever our circumstances, it’s clear that we all need to feel seen and heard – we all need empathy.

How empathy works

Empathy happens when two parts of the brain work together. Neuroscientists say that emotional empathy is when the emotional centre of your brain perceives the feelings of others, and cognitive empathy is when the cognitive centre of your brain tries to understand why they feel that way and how we can be helpful to them.

 

But what if empathy doesn’t come easily to you? Empathy helps us communicate, support and connect with others in healthy and future-focused ways. And, the good news is it can be learned and practiced.

 

Exercises to increase your empathy:

  • Put yourself in someone else’s shoes: When someone shares something personal, think about what it would be like if you were experiencing it.
  • Listen but also share: Sharing our experience signals that we too are vulnerable, and shows solidarity.
  • Connect with your community or a special cause: Research shows that when we give and make time to understand other people’s challenges, we grow a new level of compassion that makes us more open to considering our humanity.