Sunday, March 24, 2013

Top 15 Ways to build Empathy

Empathy is a very most important trait of a leader, counselor, social worker, teacher, and healthcare professionals. Here are a few ways to build empathy -

  1. Share experiences: Do not isolate yourself. Share pertinent instances of your life experiences with your patient, student and talk to them about their experiences.
  2. Put yourself in others’ shoes: In this way you will be able to understand people better.
  3. Be a good listener: Good listeners are more empathetic and better at solving critical problems.
  4. Learn from experiences: Experiences in life teach a lot and assists in facing adverse situations.
  5. Respect opinions: Respect others’ opinions and interpret them correctly. Do not stereotype people!
  6. Evaluate yourself: Note others’ body language and behavior when you are around. There are many non-verbal cues that you can pick up to understand if the other person is uncomfortable, distracted, or arrogant, not interested, or comfortable and at peace.
  7. Recognize others’ emotions and act accordingly: Recognize constructive and destructive emotions of people based on their words. Example: I am ‘excited’ to be here, versus, I am ‘happy’ to be here, versus I am a bit ‘overwhelmed’ to be here. Allow the person to open up with you by understanding and accepting the emotional state in which that person is at the moment.
  8. Look before you leap: Do not do anything without thinking about its consequences. Think about possible repercussions of your suggestions before suggesting them to the other person.
  9. Abstain from giving unnecessary advice: Do not give advice even if asked for. Every person has enough personal resources to make a good decision. To help, you may volunteer to facilitate in the decision process, and help at arriving at a good decision.
  10. Do not interrupt others: Interrupting others while they are sharing their experiences and story, creates a negative atmosphere.
  11. Learn to accept cultural diversity: Respect other cultures and religions. Reading about cultures all over India and across the world may be a daunting task, but worth it if it helps you to connect and help others.
  12. Show genuine care: Develop this feeling to build empathy. Do not sympathize with people, but genuinely empathize.
  13. Respond but do not react: Impulsive reaction to what you have heard or seen can hurt you because you have not given enough time to your thoughts to settle in. With careful thinking, you may be able to respond much more effectively and responsibly.
  14. Acknowledge your own emotions and feelings: Understanding your own emotions makes it easier to comprehend others’ emotions.
  15. Early morning walk or yoga: To be able to build empathy, it is very important to be physically and mentally fit. Unless you can energize yourself every morning with proper care given to your body and mind, you shall be unfit to build empathy and help others.
Anuj Jain

Chief Counsellor
Founder, EduGroomers

EduGroomers is a professionally managed educational organization offering Unbiased Career Assessment,Counselling, and various Empowerment Training Programs for students (school andcollege), teenagers, graduates, job seekers and working professionals.
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