Thursday, 2 June 2016

5 - Can you care too much?



What did you think about this chapter? The idea that empathy can cause you to feel the stress of other people might surprise you - or it could be something that fits very much with your experience. It is certainly something that some people are more prone to than others - heres an article about one experiment which found that about 1/4 of subjects actually demonstrated a measurable stress response triggered just by watching other people experiencing stress. And notice that in spite of the often repeated old wives tale, this effect wasnt influenced by gender - men were just as likely as women to experience this stress contagion. Could you be one of this 1/4 of people who are more prone to this effect

For more on the discovery of mirror neutrons and what that has to do with empathy - in fact about what empathy really is and why it is such a powerful force - heres a talk from Jeremy Rifkin explaining it, along with some great illustrating cartoons - although we may need to save the debate over whether there is any empathy in heaven or not for another time!

Although you might not have thought much about it before, the fact that people who are very empathetic are more prone to stress and burnout is fairly well known. This isnt the only problem with empathy either - for more about it check out this article from the Guardians This column will change your life section.

Weve talked about the difference between empathy and compassion - but what about sympathy? Watch this Brene Brown short to explain the difference.

Want to find out more about how empathetic you are? Have a go at this quick measure of empathy.

Refuel: How to balance work, life, faith and church - without burning out by Kate Middleton is available in paperback, priced £9.99. 

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