A surprising new empathic skill: Complaining! (Consciously!)

When people think of empathy, they tend to see it as a soft skill, full of yielding and niceness. That’s a part of empathy, but there’s a deeper and more full-bodied form of empathy that helps you engage with people when they (and you!) are not feeling nice at all. In The Art of Empathy, I share a number of relationship skills for dealing with conflict … Read More

The Magical Healing Powers of Art

Art is a specific empathic healing practice This month’s newsletter about art has started a lot of conversations; this post expands on the healing power of art (artistically)! Artistic expression is a wonderful and soul expanding thing for anyone, but it has a particular healing quality for anyone who wants to understand and work with empathy, because art helps you express and channel emotions intentionally. Empathy … Read More

How accurate is your empathy?

How good are your Emotion-Recognition skills? Last week, we looked at a vital part of the first aspect of empathy (Emotion Contagion), which is your capacity to feel your way into the emotions of others. And with the support of the concept of Einfühlung, we also opened up our idea of empathy to include your capacity to feel into and alongside nonhuman actors like animals and … Read More

Working through depression

See Ingenious Stagnation: Understanding Depression for specific help with depression. When suicides are in the news, people tend to talk more about depression. Medical and psychological researchers (and news outlets) focus a great deal of attention on depression, and it seems that every week brings a new story about what does and doesn’t work for depression. This is great; it’s a positive movement that is helping … Read More

How much emotion is too much?

When I talk about The Language of Emotions, one of the central ideas I try to get across is that all emotions are useful. If you can approach them with care and ask them the right questions, there aren’t any “bad” emotions. Every emotion has a specific function, and all of them are important and instructive. Some very intense emotions (such as hatred and panic), which … Read More

Protecting yourself from emotional abuse

Whew! The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the seemingly endless turmoil in the Middle East and Africa, the financial crisis and the economic downturn it caused, and over the weekend, the Supermoon? That’s a lot to take in. Even without any media jacking you up, it’s a lot to take in. So here’s my suggestion: Be very mindful about what else you take in. In Buddhism, … Read More

A new practice for anxiety

I’ve been talking to people about how they manage their anxiety, and my sister-in-law Janelle told me about an anxiety practice she created out of some of the tools in The Language of Emotions. Cool! Janelle is an in-home health practitioner who works with elderly and disabled clients, and she often feels worried about them (as you can imagine!). Janelle created a way to question her … Read More

Befriending anxiety in 2011. Huzzah!

Happy New Year! In these first days of 2011, I wish you health, strong relationships, emotional awareness, peace, empathy, compassion, humor, meaningful work, and excellent rest! So many of us went through upheavals in 2010 that I think we could all use a rest and a break. Here’s a strange idea: Let’s befriend anxiety! I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and anxiety this month, and … Read More

A holiday gift for your emotions

Holidays can be wonderful, but they can also be difficult if family or work relationships are strained. During the holidays, I see many people respond to difficult relationships by isolating themselves (or wishing they could), and I’d like to suggest a different tactic: gossip. Hold on! I’m not talking about any old gossip. I suggest ethical empathic gossip. There’s a little back story here.  Many years … Read More

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