When a person is stressed, they may go and seek out another person of like mind who will show them sympathy. This path is not a healthy one as it may prolong the stressed state the individual is in, and also enrol their sympathiser, who may also enter a stressed state in attempting to support their partner, family member, friend or colleague.
If you are asked to provide a ‘big ear’ or be the ‘rock of Gibraltar’ for a stressed individual, check out first, what personal outcome do I want from this interaction?
Offering sympathy is not the best path to take, however, displaying empathy can be a huge support for the stressed individual without you becoming emotionally involved in the stressful situation.
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Take Care of Yourself First
The Collins English Dictionary defines these two terms as follows…
Sympathy…agreement withsomeone else’s feelings.
Empathy… the ability to sense and understand someone else’s feelings as if they were one’s own.
Empathy connects you with the stressed person’s feelings, and as you do not become emotionally involved, you can support them with a tool or strategy often so they can move out of the stress and into the calm.
Recently education experts, scientists and business leaders have been talking about empathy as new research is displaying that our brains are wired for empathy which means we can all engage in social co-operation and mutual aid. Neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which supports us to care for others.
Psychologists have revealed that we develop empathy from the strong attachments we make in the first two years of our life. However, empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood. We can further its growth throughout our lives and we can use it to improve the lives of individuals around us who are constantly feeling stress in their lives.
If you would like to learn more than 60 tools and strategies to support yourself and support others around you in your world we invite you to join us for two days of creating your own unique Stress Management Toolkit with tools and strategies that build your resilience and lead you out of the stress and into the calm. Join us in Brisbane on 22 & 23October for the Stress to Strength Experience Workshop. We have a fantastic team of qualified Stress Management Practitioners who will guide and mentor you through the processes. Plus you’ll have lots of fun and go home relaxed and de-stressed.
To join us, register at www.stresstostrength.com/experience/