Mental Health & You Column | August 2020
In this Conversation Column, we look at how empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of others, is the foundation of mental health. It might also be said to be the pillar that supports and sustains human relationships, the family and civil society.

One way empathy manifests is in morality, including what we call in the West, the Golden Rule, which takes many forms in many different cultures.
But it boils down to roughly, "Treat other people the way you would like to be treated." So we think we could justly say that, as empathy can be said to affect every aspect of our human experience, it rightly deserves to be the focus of our column this month.
Empathy can also be said to be the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character.

Developing empathy is crucial for establishing relationships and behaving compassionately. It involves experiencing another person’s point of view, rather than just one’s own, and enables 'helping behaviors' that come from within, rather than being imposed upon us by someone else.

With the pandemic and other recent events we have all been forced to adjust to what has been called the new normal, a perspective that could be said to be more isolated, egocentric and 'tribal,' rather than altruistic and other-centered.  Some surveys indicate that empathy is on the decline in the United States and elsewhere. This is a source of concern.

We believe that such a critical component of good mental health and a healthy society should draw our thoughtful attentions.

We hope that our experts in this column bring you insights and good advice.
Let us know - post your comment or share your insight on our Hope Blog

Stay Safe and Healthy,
Diana and Jan
Empathy During COVID-19
Empathy is a term we use for the ability to understand other people's feelings as if we were having them ourselves. ... Sympathy refers to the ability to take part in someone else's feelings, mostly by feeling sorrowful about their misfortune.
by Susan Milligan, CHAM, CRCR, Patient Experience Director, Ensemble Health Partners
Fear, frustration, panic, anger, confusion … we have all been dealing with these emotions (and many others) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting with Empathy During COVID-19
Before sharing insight on acting with empathy for patients, co-workers and yourself, I want to make one thing clear:
I am amazed at the courage of our teams. If courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act despite the fear, then how could I use any other term to describe our teams?
All over the country, our associates have faced these circumstances with poise and professionalism, and I will always remember that we acted courageously and were leaders in selfless acts, despite the fear and anxiety we are experiencing ourselves.

Featured Doctor
4 Defining Attributes of Empathy
Video Corner
What's the Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy?
Tori Olds, a therapist at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy in Austin, TX, talks about really showing up for someone to bridge an emotional gap for them and how this integration is actually what we aim to create within ourselves.
"I typically guide clients in slowing down and “being with” themselves more fully and without shame."
Tori Olds, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
Individual Psychologist

"I try to template this level of attentiveness through my own emotional engagement and respect for my clients and their experience.

In this way, clients and I can collaborate in an atmosphere of openness and safety to address whatever is on their hearts or minds."

Your Empathy Toolkit #1
Definition
Empathy is the ability to identify and understand another person’s situations and feelings.
Sympathy refers to the feelings of sorrow and pity for someone else’s misfortune.

Understanding
Empathy implies that one can understand another person’s situation.
Sympathy does not imply that one can understand another person’s situation.

Experience
Empathy implies that one has a similar experience in the past.
Sympathy implies that one cannot understand the situation due to lack of experience.

Feelings
Empathy evokes feelings such as understanding, acceptance, and concern.
Sympathy evokes feelings such as pity, sorrow, and compassion.
Your Empathy Toolkit #2

5 Actionable
Tips to Develop
Empathy and Become a More Empathetic Person

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Please stay safe and healthy!
Diana and Jan

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