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Make Your Connections More Powerful with Empathy

By Sandy Schroeder

Do you automatically put yourself in someone else's shoes when they tell you about a problem? If you do, you may have a lot of great connections with friends, family and co-workers.  You may have developed a gift for empathy, which is the ability to sense other people's thoughts and feelings. 

On the other hand, If you sometimes wonder at the indifferent responses that you get from people around you, there may be more work to do. If you wonder if others really hear you, you may need to forge stronger connections and empathy will help. 

Here are some ways to practice empathy from 

Be there when friends and family need you - When a problem comes up, respond as quickly as you can and see how you can help, You may be busy, but painful problems sometimes demand quick support. 

Listen well and try to relate - Sometimes just showing up and listening is enough. Other times, a response with sympathetic words and helpful answers is needed. Give the person your full attention and do your best to let them know they have been heard. You may have had similar experiences or know someone who can help. 

Stay alert to the people around you - In a busy world it's easy to just keep moving and ask no questions. However, if you take a moment to really look at your family and friends you may see sadness in their faces or hear it in their voices. Make some time to get to the bottom of things and find some good answers. 

Be curious about strangers - You can learn a whole lot about empathy by simply being open to the world around you. You might ask yourself why that teenager looks so dejected, or why another one seems totally frustrated. Whenever you are out, take note of the people around you, and see what a kind word or a quick compliment will do. My grandfather was a wonderful people person. It was said he never knew a stranger. He could talk to anyone, and often did.  

Sample the life of someone else - At a glance, we may feel everyone has an easier life than we do. If you look closer, and actually follow someone around all day, you may quickly change your tune. Mail carriers, police, doctors and nurses all have demands that may not seem so easy when we look closely.  

Empathy can easily grow stronger when we practice it every day. At the same time, new doors may open and life may become more satisfying as connections deepen. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Loveland, Colo.

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