Mindfulness and Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of other people. Mindfulness can help to develop or to increase this ability. Stress is an unavoidable factor that is faced by the majority of the population and most of the time is beyond their control. It can either make them care for someone else or it can lead to over thinking about situations or react with distress to the experience of others and lose the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Empathy may not be related specifically with mindfulness but empathy is associated with self-compassion. If we learn to practice mindfulness will learn first to have compassion for our self and that will lead to learning how to be compassion to others.
If you are mindful you are open to other people perspectives with lower levels of personal distress. The effect of stress can be minimized through the help of empathy, as when people send or receive empathy they sort of understand how to resolve conflicts within themselves as well. It helps them come up with ways to answer the conflicts that are a major cause of stress that they might be experiencing. Therefore in order to counter stress effectively, people should come up with ways to be more mindful so they can increase their empathic listening skills. Some of the ways are mentioned below:
- Focus on the words and the feelings people convey to you without judgment. There are hidden feelings or empathetic signals that they might be trying to convey.
- Pay attention, be mindful to their body language as if people are stressed or their mind is occupied with anything then it can be reflected through their body language and postures.
- Never jump to conclusions, do not judge until you know the entire story as it might be a burden in understanding the other person completely.
- Always make sure that you know the art of calming yourself down. Avoid reacting to other people’s tensions as that way you won’t be able to help them and you might end up creating factors of stress for yourself.
- Make sure that the person knows you are interested in knowing what they are discussing with you, as sometimes only the thought of having someone listen to you is more than enough.